The Second Coming, by WB Yeats: Poem and video

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
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: somewhere in sands of the desert
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
Reel 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?

VIDEO: 1.34 mins

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12 thoughts on “The Second Coming, by WB Yeats: Poem and video

  1. Off-Topic (On the thread titled: Depravity Unlimited)

    I thought the tribe was striking back in view of the weapons’brand used (dildos and vibrators!) Doesn’t it?

  2. My favorite poem. And very relevant today. However I was disappointed that several of Yeats’ words were changed by the narrator.

  3. If someone writes a poem and then nobody has a clue what he is talking about so another writer has to come along and explain exactly what the poet was talking about then the poem is a total failure. Art is supposed to be about communicating ideas, not writing pretentious meaningless guff that nobody understands.
    It’s like the “emperor new clothes” – everyone says they love the poem even though no -ne has a clue what the guy is talking about.

    1. @ Monkberry

      An interesting comment.

      However, If I may be allowed to give my humble opinion.

      First, the fact that Yeats’ poem has no meaning for you is no proof that the poem is meaningless. Or pretentious. It may mean a lot to me. And it obviously means lot to millions of other people, or else the poem would hardly have been so popular or so frequently anthologized.

      The fact that the poem means nothing at all to an unknown entity called “Monkberry” is probably just an indication that the said Monkberry is an inordinately stupid and insensitive individual lacking in imagination. Devoid of literary talent and the skills required for poetry exegesis.

      A second reason why no one has bothered to explain the meaning of this fine poem to you: Why should anyone bother to waste their time on an obvious cretin, a literary dunce unlikely to benefit from any explanation, given that your very question is couched in the sneering tones of a rank philistine?

      You have already decided, after all, that the poem is worthless, so why should anyone bother to engage in any further discussion with you?

      I hope this answers your question. 🙂

      1. Well Sardonicus other than giving vent to your satanic impulses to insult people I notice you can’t explain the poem either. BTW neither I nor my university lecturer wife can make head or tail of it either in the same way we fail to see the point in much of what passes for “modern art”.
        Our daughter in law who is graduating in medicine this year also read the poem and agrees it is meaningless.
        Perhaps if you pray and struggle really hard with the hate impulses that drive you to lash out and insult people and then calm down perhaps mister sardonicus you can actually explain what the poem is about.
        Of course you haven’t done this – because you haven’ a clue what it’s about either !

      2. @ Monkberry

        Well Sardonicus other than giving vent to your satanic impulses to insult people I notice you can’t explain the poem either. BTW neither I nor my university lecturer wife can make head or tail of it either…. Our daughter in law who is graduating in medicine this year also read the poem and agrees it is meaningless…. calm down mister sardonicus [and see if] you can actually explain what the poem is about….Of course you haven’t done this – because you haven’ a clue what it’s about either !

        I don’t need to calm down, dear boy. I am perfectly calm. I also bear you no ill-will since I perceive you are just a piss taker. All I’ll say is this: if your daughter in law thinks the Yeats poem is “meaningless”, it probably means she’s just a poetry philistine like you. Or thick as two planks. If your equally moronic wife is a university lecturer, then my dad is the Pope. 🙂

        I have no intention of explaining the “meaning” of this poem to you because I am not in favour of entering into dialogue with imbeciles! Your glib assumption that the poem must have a specific meaning — a meaning shared by you, me, your wife, your daughter-in-law, and everyone else who reads the poem, is a sure giveaway you don’t have a clue what the meaning of “meaning” is. 🙂

        Explain to me the meaning of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Finnegan’s Wake, or of the mystical sound OM, or of a Buddhist mandala … and maybe we can then begin to exchange profitable ideas!

        Consider the possibility that the Yeats poem means exactly what you WISH it to mean, dear Monkberry, and that it has as many meanings as it has interpreters.

        Just like dreams do.

  4. This writer/composer set “The Second Coming” called “Turning” for SATB chorus and chamber orchestra.
    However, this composer can’t get anyone to perform it. The head of the music department of the local Pac 12 University thinks it’s a wonderful piece but the director of choral studies at the University doesn’t seem interested.
    If I ever do get it performed and recorded I will send it to Darkmoon. Sometimes hearing the words of a poem set to (serious) music lends meaning to the words accordingly to the individual listener. Therefore, we’re back to square one. There are other musical renditions of The Second Coming along the lines of the touchy feely new age sort. My composition “Turning” is the only serious music setting that I know of.

  5. Maybe this article will help.
    Myself, I think Yeats, like all impersonalists, no matter his mind, is both in awe and perplexed that such a thing as an Avatara (exists) within these material phantasmagoria.
    He’s also afraid to be born again himself. (rightfully so)

    As W.H. Auden put it, after his friend and mentor was buried in the ground:
    “Let the Irish vessel lie / Emptied of its poetry.”
    The Deathbed Confessions of William Butler Yeats

  6. The time is almost up

    No solutions will come through wars
    No solutions will come through changing money systems
    No solutions will come through man-made governments

    All are doomed to fail
    as well they should
    jousting at Satan’s windmills
    will do no good

    Here’s another Brownhawkian interpretation of the ancient ones:

    The Earth will “stand still”* and throw out the jew like a dog shakin’ off its fleas. Then let them take their stinkin wars and systems somewhere else, and God (and some of US) help their next victims

    *Heralded by a planetary shift whereupon perception of the electromagnetic spectrum goes from the “scientific vicariousness” of a spectator to one no longer isolated from the intimacy of its unified field.

  7. More interpretations…

    For thousands, if not MILLIONS of “Earth years” Man has become familiarized with his existence being experienced EXCLUSIVELY in a reality of what we know as “matter”. This exclusivity prompted “man” to become “hu-man” in a devolution that has moved him away from his Divinely-intended state wherein lies the ability to move in and out of the physical orientation of spirit that matter IS.

    In extending a definition of “jew” as one that knows only to destroy, to those of that ilk the above paragraph is completely repudiated. Jew would have us believe that death and reincarnation are NECESSARY.

    This reflects the greatest lie of them all

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