Today is St Patrick’s Day. As both my parents were born in Ireland I consider myself to have a pretty strong Irish heritage, and I have always loved their music, film, culture and literature. Ireland has produced a phenomenal number of brilliant writers- quite disproportionate to its population. Today I have decided to choose one of my favourites. The Second Coming, by the great Irish writer, 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: 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?
I cannot help thinking how profound these words are. When your“ centre’, your moral compass, is no longer sound, the “things’ will “fall apart”. Although written nearly a 100 years ago, the words are as insightful today, across the world. In our country we are witnessing it. The great men of the ANC Revolutionary movement must be turning in their graves as they witness the corruption destroying a once proud and morally focussed movement. Hopefully the spirit of Plaatjie, Luthuli, Tambo, Sisulu, Mandela, Hani and others will rise up and once again give the ANC some moral credibility. But I fear that all is lost- the souls of the once freedom fighters are sold to the devil of filthy lucre.
Back in our sane village we are starting up the engines to prepare for our Fourth Festival at the end of August. Despite ongoing problems in finding funding, we are once again committed to bringing poetry alive and well to the public. So get your spot booked and come and join us for a wonderful weekend in the whacky village of McGregor!
Be careful out there!