Today is the b-day of William Butler Yeats, a tidbit of information I learned because I subscribe to the Writers Almanac (and you should, too, if you like learning random information about writers and reading a poem a day). As is often the case when it is the birthday of someone like Yeats (i.e., a Really Big Name poet), the poem of the day today is not by a contemporary writer but by Yeats himself, and the poem is none other than ‘The Second Coming.’ If you don’t know it, go read it. If you know it, go read it again. Out loud is best.
People offer various interpretations of it, and I don’t agree with most of them, but I do find the poem quite thought provoking. Every time I read it or hear it, something new beckons me. The lines that stood out to me this particular morning (when J read it out loud to me while I was getting ready for church) were these:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
These two Really Famous lines are then followed by some apocalyptic imagery–the poem on the whole is apocalyptic–but when set apart on their own, the lines are worth chewing on for a few minutes.
And yes, I do think that even these have something to say in the context of my on-going conversation about community. Thoughts?