A Poetry Class for the End of the World
Milo and the Professor are back with a special episode of Friday Night’s All Right, available on Censored.tv!
With protestors storming the Capitol Building and tempers running high, what better poem to capture the Spiritus Mundi than “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats?
Turning and turning in the widening gyreThe 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 everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity.Surely some revelation is at hand;Surely the Second Coming is at hand.The Second Coming! Hardly are those words outWhen a vast image out of Spiritus MundiTroubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desertA 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 itReel shadows of the indignant desert birds.The darkness drops again; but now I knowThat twenty centuries of stony sleepWere vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Milo and I talk about the meaning of the poem, its imagery and symbolism, and how well it applies to our current moment. We explore the context in which Yeats was writing in 1920, the importance of falconry, the Riddle of the Sphinx, and how much it hurts to look at the sun. What do falcons have to do with the soul? Why can’t the center hold without the falconer? And what is about to be revealed? We also talk about how memes make studying poetry easier, and how poetry is necessary to culture. And, of course, why Western civilization should properly be called “Christendom.”