March 26, 2017 49 Comments
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? That bit of Yeats pretty well sums up my feelings this morning, both as to where our countries are going and my personal life as well, which perhaps means I take current events too seriously. But I detect that same near despair in many of my friends. Many of them continue to fight and speak for the right, often getting at best, no response, and often a kick in the teeth for their trouble. Still, it’s what one does, if one has our temperament. Is it possible to win this war against the allies of
liberalprogressive ( I struck that out because there is nothing liberal about them), the so-called media, and Islam (or Islamic terrorism, if you prefer)? Sure it is possible, but it is about as likely as that the British Empire would hold on between Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor. In other words, yes, it's posssible, if we act with determination and steadfast will. Is it likely? I have no clue. But I notice that as I go on, my spirits begin to flag, as they do in others. Not all, of course, and for me, it is a lessening of intensity, a spiritual tiredness, and others keep me on track, as I hope I too do others. But it is going to be long war. But I do believe in the long run it is our war to win or lose. And perhaps Elliot is the truer poet. One prays so. If you came this way, Taking the route you would be likely to take From the place you would be likely to come from, If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness. It would be the same at the end of the journey, If you came at night like a broken king, If you came by day not knowing what you came for, It would be the same, when you leave the rough road And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for Is only a shell, a husk of meaning From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled If at all. Either you had no purpose Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws, Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city— But this is the nearest, in place and time, Now and in England. If you came this way, Taking any route, starting from anywhere, At any time or at any season, It would always be the same: you would have to put off Sense and notion. You are not here to verify, Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity Or carry report. You are here to kneel Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more Than an order of words, the conscious occupation Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying. And what the dead had no speech for, when living, They can tell you, being dead: the communication Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living. Here, the intersection of the timeless moment Is England and nowhere. Never and always. As Mother Julian reminds us - “In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed because of it, without reason and discretion. “But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well,and all manner of thing shall be well.'