W.B.Yeats :"The Second Coming"

NEERAJ BHATT By NEERAJ BHATT, 30th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Poetry, Drama & Criticism

William Butler Yeats has used religious imagery regarding the Apocalypse and Second Coming.He shaped for himself an elaborate mythology in order to explain his post war experience.

W.B.Yeats :"The Second Coming"

W.B.Yeats (1865-1939) escapes from the modern world. “The Second Coming” mirrors the turbulence of modern world. This world has become so much wild that the poet thinks of Christ’s second coming on this earth.
When the war ended in 1918,Yeats hoped that a better and stronger humanity would emerge. But it was not to be. Years of elation and inflation was followed by a psychological and economic slump. It was this atmosphere in which the poet wandered confusedly. Yeats felt:
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.”
Yeats presents the universal turmoil. His heart is filled with grief. The poet finds disorder everywhere. He writes out of a ‘a blotched civilization. ‘He seems to believe:”the world is wild with the delirium of hatred”-in the twentieth century. That is why, he says-“The falcon cannot hear the falconer.”This poem was written in 1920.The First World War was just over and the Irish civil war was still keeping on. The poet says-“the centre cannot hold.”The centre may be many things. The political authority had paralyzed the administration. The people were involved in fruitless activities. They had become selfish. With the result-“mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”The people had no love for religion. They had no time to worship. They forgot God. So they forgot the true meaning of life.
‘The blood dimmed’ indicates the violence committed in the wars. This is the reason the poet pens-“ceremony of innocence is drowned “That is, the poet believes that there was ceremony of innocence in the past. The poet uses a number of bold paradoxes in order to convince his readers. He laments:
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
These lines reflect the mind of the poet. He is repenting at the situation. He always thinks of the good old days. There is more anxiety than insight in these lines.
The poet is hopeful of some revelation. He says:”Surely some revelation is at hand.”Ravindra nath Tagore also says in one of his poems:
“All creatures are crying for a new birth of Thine.”
“The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;”The centre may be mind which dictates body in fruitless activities. The centre might be God, or the centre might be a set of healthy values without which all one endeavors will pave the way to hell.
Another look of our civilization is the separation between wisdom and energy. Those who have wisdom are self-satisfied and they do not cure the ills of society. On the other hand, those who act, have no wisdom.
In the second stanza, the poet talks of the Christ’s reappearance. He is troubled to see a vast image out of “Spiritus Mundi” He makes us see “A shape with lion body and head of a man.”
“Whose gaze is blank and pitiless as the Sun.”Such is the captivating pictures drawn by Yeats. Again he says:
“The darkness drops again but now I know”-suggests disillusionment. The poet has used an excellent use of transferred epithet by using stony before sleep.


Anarchy, Bethlehem, Centre, Christ, Gyre, Neeraj Bhatt, Revelation, Second Coming

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
Reading poetry is my passion.

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author avatar Retired
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Arise from the ashes with wings of gold,
To soar to the sky in beauty unfurled.
To send a message to the world.

We are sending, what we are talking about,
Spreading our wings to fly about.
But why are they trying to pull as down,
For so deep, living under a crown.

To the Creator in love they go,
To feel the passion Sunlight glow.
Spreading their wings, anthems of love.
They are Golden Wings from Above.

By Anisha Achankunju (C) 1st December 2011

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Thank you, NEERAJ BHATT, for this interpretation of Yeats poem, "The Second Coming". Your knowledge is commendable. I know only a little of Yeats poetry. However, one of his remarks captured my attention. In response to a friend as to how he was feeling that day, Yeats replied, "Not too well, I'm afraid. I only feel like writing prose today".

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author avatar Buzz
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Good analysis and dissection of Yeats, NEERAJ.

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
3rd Dec 2011 (#)

Thank you my friends-ANISHA,Ivy and Buzz,

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Dec 2011 (#)

Another insightful article Neeraj...I am enjoying these very much..

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author avatar Akankhya
4th Nov 2012 (#)

it was a real help for me..thnx a lot..bt why is this note incomplete???

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