The Center Doesn’t Hold

A bunch of folks on Percy-L are taking a page from the Korrektiv Summer Reading Klub and embarking on a group read of Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins. As a point of departure, one list member has submitted Yeats’s poem, “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 convictions, 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?

It was just a short while ago that Matthew Lickona was asking: What if everyone in Spokane, WA read Love in the Ruins?


  1. Rufus McCain says

    A great poem — despite WBY’s crackpot theory of the gyres.

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