Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Center Cannot Hold...

Today is St. Patricks Day and instead of any leprechaun tales, in honor of Ireland, I’ll print a passage from the great Irish poet, W. B. Yeats.

It’s one stanza from The Second Coming, one of Yeats best known poems. In fact, if you’ve heard people use the phrase “the center cannot hold” or “things fall apart” they’re quoting Yeats (and might not even know it).

It’s kind of a dismal poem for a holiday, but Yeats wrote the poem in 1919, a rough time in history, hence, his somber vision of the world falling apart. But, it’s a classic, and a glimpse of why Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature just a few years later.

“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."
-W. B Yeats, The Second Coming