I was in college in a journalism class (here in Oklahoma City area) when it was announced that the Murrah Building had been bombed. I was home preparing to go to class when I watched the WACO debacle unfold and played hooky. I had just dropped my 8 year-old son at school and came home in time to see the planes fly into the WTC. All three of those events were horrifying to watch and mindnumbing, but at least those had political overtones that we all know and understand make people commit acts of senseless violence.
Yesterday, I was busy wrapping and mailing Christmas gifts and did not turn on the news or radio until I'd mailed all the packages. I arrived home to discover the horror of this and immediately the last two lines of this poem learned some 30 odd years ago in a high school literature class began to echo in my mind.
The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats
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?