I’ve been re-reading Stephen King’s The Stand recently. I’ve not read it for about twenty years and so downloaded it onto my Kindle.
The first time around I don’t remember being so arrested by the quotation from WB Yeats’ 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: 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?
Wikipedia shows just how many times this work has been referenced right across popular culture since it was written in 1920, but there was I coming to it as if for the first time. I just found that the words stung and fascinated me, prompting a great deal of reading around the poem to seek out its meaning. I’m sharing them on the slight chance that someone else out there has a Yeats-shaped hole in their life that needs filling.
On a more prosaic (though no less important) level, I now know who the editor will be for my forthcoming novel and can’t wait to get to work on it. More details to follow as and when I can share them.