Look Who's Coming!

Look Who's Coming!

Jan 30, 2017, 5:01:13 PM Opinion

It's been almost 100 years since W. B. Yeats wrote this masterpiece...

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: 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? 


Yeats didn't know Donald Trump, but when I read, "what rough beast...slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" I wonder if Yeats was clairvoyant, maybe a seer in the Celtic tradition. Certainly he believed in the mystical. The gyre in his poem was part of his view of the world. It represented a historical cycle. As one cycle ended it was enclosed in the new cycle like those Russian dolls that fit one into the other. 

William Butler Yeats's quote #2

What was happening in 1919 that Yeats was compelled to create his masterpiece? World War I had ended and Germany was in a shambles as a result of being punished for losing WWI. The foundation was being built for the rise of the Third Reich. If none of that echos to you, "The best lack all conviction" and "the worst Are full of passionate intensity" should. It echos to me of an election where an intense winner received less votes than a conviction-less loser.

Since the fence of 2006 has been such a success Mr. Trump wants more wall and he wants to keep green card holding Muslims out of the country. I guess USCIS hasn't been doing their job when it comes to vetting for permanent residency. But it's OK to come on in if you're Christian. Smacks of discrimination. Last I heard that was a violation of civil rights in this country, not to mention human rights globally. He told us it would be this way. It's all about Americanism and let the rest of the world be damned.

Yeats' poem uses a biblical metaphor ironically. The second coming in the Bible was to be the second coming of the Saviour. Given the state of the world and its leadership in 1919 Yeats' sight was troubled at the "Second Coming". One hundred years later my sight is troubled too at the new slouching beast on, what used to be, a horizon, but is now, a 'pitiless as the sun' computer screen . Trump told us what he was going to do and now he's doing it. 

Most of my life has been good in the past.  I have 2 wonderful sons, 2 beautiful granddaughters, a loving wife and good friends. With all that in my rear-view mirror I didn't anticipate waking in the morning with fear. But Trump's use of power is "darkness drops again." There are ways not to let his nightmare "be born." Those of us who can must stop this "slouching beast."


Published by Bill Snyder

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