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WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
YODA

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?

W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

A SUDDEN blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead. Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

W.B. Yeats, Leda and the Swan

Perhaps my favorite poet, Yeat's words are at once sensual and phantasmagorical. A wizard of the written word, his mythic works resonate as strongly as his romantic odes ("When you are Old") and political tomes ("Easter, 1916") with wry comment and mystical undertones. His language and rhythms evoke the lost power of Ancient tongues and hearken to a time and place unknown and untouched by modern civilization. In my humble and admittedly uninformed opinion, only W. H. Auden, among the canon of Gaelic poets, comes close to approaching Yeat's poetic prowess.

Have a date with Yeats.

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