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  • From "The Second Coming."

A Moment with Yeats

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.


In the dark aftermath of violence, I often turn to Yeats. His words are full of "terrible beauty." "The Second Coming" is a poem I return to time and time again. Sometimes it scares me, often it jolts me, always it speaks to me. The lines about the best who "lack all conviction" while "the worst are full of passionate intensity" should scare us all. Who will speak the loudest in the days ahead?

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