Yeats Day 2015

Today marks the 150th anniversary of Ireland’s greatest poet, WB Yeats, who was born on this day in 1865. A host of events are taking place worldwide to mark this important year and you can check them out at the Yeats 2015 website.

Yeats, photographed in 1908 by Alvin Langdon Coburn
Yeats, photographed in 1908 by Alvin Langdon Coburn

Here is my favourite Yeats poem. What one would you read today?

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?

Irish Literature

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I remember reading The Second Coming a few years ago for what I think was the first literature course in my first year at university. I was quite impressed with it! Since then I haven’t read a lot of Yeats work, I believe, but I do love the last line from Among School Children: “How can we know the dancer from the dance?”

    Like

  2. I love this line
    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”

    I’ve heard it in movies and I think Stephen King has used it – now I know it’s context.

    Like

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