desert lionMy article for Imaginative Conservative website this week is a reflection on W.B.Yeats’ famous poem, The Second Coming. 

While the world spins forward in what seems an ever-widening spiral of chaos, what conservative cannot lament the loss of all that once seemed stable, certain and secure? W.B. Yeats’ poem The Second Coming, like T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, seems a stark warning not only about the horrors that were to come in the last century, but the horrors we face in the first years of the present century.

Yeats was writing just after the First World War, but the same whirling out of control afflicts our age. Wild acts of violence and mindless decadence seem about to take over. In the midst of this Yeats’ vision of an anti Christ figure rising from the Middle Easter is especially terrifying.

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,

How ominous therefore to find that ISIS chief executioner, Shakir Wahiyib, is called “the Desert Lion,” that the murderous squads of ISIS call themselves “the Lions of Islam,” and the boys they train to kill “the cubs of Islam”? Is not their “gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun”

Read the whole post here.