Almost a hundred years ago the Irish poet William Butler Yeats published a poem that references Armageddon and political upheaval. It is a message of hope. It is a message of warning.
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?
(GYRE: A gyre is a spiral that expands outward as it goes up. Yeats used the image of gyres to describe the motion of history towards chaos and instability.)
(William Butler Yeats 1865-1939 – Irish poet, dramatist, and prose writer. Yeats is widely considered one of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th Century.)
(Falcon Photograph Smithsonian Magazine)