The Second Coming

W. B. 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.
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?
 
About "The Second Coming"

Among other things, "The Second Coming" takes its imagery from Yeats's book, A Vision, a zodiac of sorts that he developed with his wife through "visitations" and automatic writing. Yeats claimed that she was often inhabited by spirits who came in order to describe a universal system of cyclical birth, based around a turning gyre.

Poems by This Author

A Drinking Song by W. B. Yeats
Wine comes in at the mouth
A Prayer for my Daughter by W. B. Yeats
Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Adam's Curse by W. B. Yeats
We sat together at one summer's end
Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W. B. Yeats
Had I the heavensí embroidered cloths
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death by W. B. Yeats
I know that I shall meet my fate
Easter 1916 by W. B. Yeats
I have met them at close of day
Leda and the Swan by W. B. Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Never give all the heart by W. B. Yeats
Never give all the heart, for love
Sailing to Byzantium by W. B. Yeats
That is no country for old men. The young
The Balloon of the Mind by W. B. Yeats
Hands, do what you're bid
The Fisherman by W. B. Yeats
Although I can see him still
The Heart of the Woman by W. B. Yeats
O what to me the little room
The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W. B. Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree
The Living Beauty by W. B. Yeats
I bade, because the wick and oil are spent
The Magi by W. B. Yeats
Now as at all times I can see in the mind's eye
The Moods by W. B. Yeats
Time drops in decay
The Player Queen by W. B. Yeats
My mother dandled me and sang
The Song of Wandering Aengus by W. B. Yeats
I went out to the hazel wood
The Sorrow of Love by W. B. Yeats
The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves
The Stolen Child by W. B. Yeats
Where dips the rocky highland
The Tower by W. B. Yeats
What shall I do with this absurdity
The Wild Swans at Coole by W. B. Yeats
The trees are in their autumn beauty
The Young Man's Song by W. B. Yeats
I whispered,
When You are Old by W. B. Yeats
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
Who goes with Fergus? by W. B. Yeats
Who will go drive with Fergus now


Further Reading

Poems About Tragedy and Grief
"My True Love Hath My Heart and I Have His"
by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
Adonais, 49-52, [Go thou to Rome]
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Hamlet, Act III, Scene I [To be, or not to be]
by William Shakespeare
Against Elegies
by Marilyn Hacker
Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100
by Martín Espada
Arise, Go Down
by Li-Young Lee
Assault to Abjury
by Raymond McDaniel
Before
by Carl Adamshick
Breaking Across Us Now
by Katie Ford
Curtains
by Ruth Stone
Day of Grief
by Gerald Stern
Dear Lonely Animal,
by Oni Buchanan
December, 1919
by Claude McKay
Easter 1916
by W. B. Yeats
Eulogy
by Kevin Young
Facing It
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Fairbanks Under the Solstice
by John Haines
here rests
by Lucille Clifton
Hum
by Ann Lauterbach
I Can Afford Neither the Rain
by Holly Iglesias
I Found Her Out There
by Thomas Hardy
I measure every Grief I meet (561)
by Emily Dickinson
I Pack Her Suitcase with Sticks, Light the Tinder, and Shut the Lid
by Rob Schlegel
Imagine
by Kamilah Aisha Moon
In Louisiana
by Albert Bigelow Paine
Lycidas
by John Milton
Memorial Day for the War Dead
by Yehuda Amichai
On His Deceased Wife
by John Milton
Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Pretty Polly
by Jane Springer
Quiet Mourning
by Laura Moriarty
Requiescat
by Matthew Arnold
Richard Cory
by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Rose Aylmer
by Walter Savage Landor
September 1, 1939
by W. H. Auden
Song ["When I am dead, my dearest"]
by Christina Rossetti
Stillbirth
by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Surprised By Joy
by William Wordsworth
That This
by Susan Howe
The Dead
by Joan Aleshire
The Gaffe
by C. K. Williams
The Hour and What Is Dead
by Li-Young Lee
The Not Tale (Funeral)
by Caroline Bergvall
The Stolen Child
by W. B. Yeats
The Widow's Lament in Springtime
by William Carlos Williams
The Words Under the Words
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Tigers
by Melissa Ginsburg
To W.C.W. M.D.
by Alfred Kreymborg
Poems for Times of Turmoil
4/30/92 for rodney king
by Lucille Clifton
blessing the boats
by Lucille Clifton
Chaplinesque
by Hart Crane
Fifteen Years of Darkness
by Liu Xiaobo
In a Country
by Larry Levis
O Little Root of a Dream
by Paul Celan
O Me! O Life!
by Walt Whitman
Poet's Work
by Lorine Niedecker
Recession
by Sydney Lea
The times are nightfall, look, their light grows less
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Thing
by Rae Armantrout