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By William Butler 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?


n/a

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

William Butler Yeats
Born in Dublin, Ireland, William Butler Yeats was an enormously influential poet and playwright, whose work formed a clear link between the Romantic and Modern eras. His strong nationalism appeared in his poetry through the recurrent themes of Irish mythology and folklore. Yeats became deeply involved in Irish politics and was even appointed a senator of the Irish Free State. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. See More By This Poet

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