Thursday, November 19, 2015

A poem for the times - WB Yeats

     William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


    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: a waste of desert sand;
    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
    Wind 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?


The Second Coming was written in 1919 in the aftermath
of the first World War. The above version of the poem is
as it was published in the edition of Michael Robartes and
the Dancer
 dated 1920 (there are numerous other
versions of the poem). The preface and notes in the book
contain some philosphy attributed to Robartes. 

This printing of the poem has a page break between lines
17 and 18 making the stanza division unclear. Following
the two most similar drafts given in the Parkinson and
Brannen edited edition of the manuscripts, I have put a
stanza break there. (Interestingly, both of those drafts
have thirty centuries instead of twenty.) The earlier drafts
also have references to the French and Irish Revolutions
as well as to Germany and Russia.

  • Monday, November 16, 2015

    Poems after Paris 13/11/2015

    Early reactions to the attacks in Paris, 13 November 2015
    Shaken again
    from complacency
    into confusion.

    Asking why? 
    How can they?
    Is life not tough enough?

    Like the hydra
    violent groups grow more heads
    each time we chop one off.

    if we despair
    darkness has the upper hand

    I believe
    most people are decent
    not deluded.

    I believe humans
    can progress
    towards peace
    and cooperation.

    But after such "incidents"
    I want to hide,
    pretend they have not happened.

    I marvel
    I marvel
    at human persistence
    in destruction

    I marvel
    at how some justify

    I marvel
    at those who demand
    faith unto death

    I marvel most
    at the resilience
    of survivors

    and the compassion
    of millions.

    Le lendemain - next morning

    next morning
    life slowly pulls on
    everyday clothes
    but some people
    never will

    or maybe I need to make it more obvious

    next morning
    Paris slowly puts on
    everyday clothes
    for some people 
    this makes no sense


    le lendemain
    on s'habille
    comme d'habitude
    - pours certains
    cela n'a plus de sens


    The next day
    Paris gets dressed
    as usual
    for some
    there is no usual

    Wednesday, November 04, 2015

    More Leicester oddments

    Very literal old sign
    The Leicestershire Butchers Hide Skin & Fat Company building on Queen Street is now a car park. The sign still remains above the entrance. The company appears to have been formed in 1867 and transferred business operations to Somerset and is now dissolved. Info from empedia
    Leicester going continental

    I imagine this is a self-confident Victorian building

    One of the ground floor windows
    Some info on Faire Brothers and CO.  It seems they still manufacture paper.
    The magnificent entrance to what is now residential flats

    Leicester covered market - always worth a visit

    Autumn colours hanging in there

    Verdigris on the turret

    Modern reflections