Slouching Toward Raleigh 27612 [sic!]

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Sat Sep 14 21:51:47 MDT 1996

                   The Second Coming
                                W.B. Yeats (1919)

        Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
        The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
        The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
        The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.
        Surely some revelation is at hand;
        Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
        The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
        When a vast image out of *Spiritus Mundi*
        Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
        A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
        Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
        Reel shadows of indignant desert birds.
        The darkness drops again; but now I know
        That twenty centuries of stony sleep
        Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
        And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
        Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

    If it doesn't make too much sense, don't worry--in this case
I don't think Yeats knew himself. But you must admit it has a
ring to it.

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