A friend writes: “… The public personalities who get the most attention now are the raging, fulminating blowhards who seem to be non-differentially angry at everything. It’s become a blood sport. But it’s nonetheless disturbing when you think that the population is so much in the grip of its shadow that it needs to find a victim to feed to the lions. At times I really do wonder if Obama will end up a single term president because he could not answer that savage impetus in the country. …”
Which put me in mind of this poem from William Butler Yeats:
The Second Coming
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: 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?
2 Replies to “Blood Sport, and a Second Coming”
“The worst are full of passionate intensity” is a line that has haunted me for decades.
I saw you quote that line recently, and that’s what made me connect it to that note I received. Making allowances for the fact the world is always going to hell, the rest of the poem echoes in our world, too.