The Second Coming
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?
William Butler Yeats
index: the cupric rockscape of Bellini; the Sound of Sleat; Holbein’s cranial anamorphosis; the melancolic geometry of Durer; Giordano Bruno’s On the Composition of Images, Signs and Ideas; Barney’s Canopic Chest; the lapis blue alchemical pelican (silica, lime, copper, and alkali); “the smoke of their torment”, Revelation 14:11; the dead trees of Calvary; the emblem of emblems; Piero’s trapped landscape; the glass domes (through their transparency and shine, have the virtue of simultaneously animating and distancing the objects within); Kandor; Carpaccio’s Preparation of Christ’s Tomb, with the anvil-like red stone of unction; The Beast of the Earth Makes Fire Come Down from the Heavens, the Apocalypse Tapestry of Angers; and Durer’s Flügel einer Blauracke, from which all of the colours in the work are derived.
The Second Coming: Details