Yeats: The Second Coming
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre 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: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the 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 towards Bethlehem to be born?
While Leda and the Swan meditates the birth of history, The Second Coming meditates its death. Born in violence, dead in violence, crossed by violence throughout its whole life, that's what history has been. The mythical rape of Leda, seen by Yeats as the pre-event of the Trojan War, a war going on in the endless conflict between Occident and Orient (Ryszard Kapuściński, Travels with Herodotus), and finally the fall in the World Wars of the last century. And after that? After the end? When nobody will remain, the Earth will say, people did not like it here (Vonnegut).
(William Butler Yeats)