And What Rough Beast

I found myself deplaning in Dublin right about the time the world got official word about Brexit. Strange to be arriving in Ireland during the centennial recognition of the Easter Rising while the actual vote was being tallied that would declare the United Kingdom’s secession from the EU.

Dublin is a bustling city; at the Poets Corner,  you’ll see a pub that has the faces of many Irish writers for whom social change was integral to art:  Swift, Yeats, and Shaw to name only three.  Contemporaries have picked up the causes:  Eavan Boland and Paula Meehan, for example, are important voices for feminist issues in Ireland–and there are so many other writers who could be listed, who have spoken for those without speech, who have tried to bear witness to the fracturing of their worlds, but I haven’t the energy right now to recount all of the wonderful Irish writer who have troubled “the living stream.”  Jet lag is upon me, and I need to rest, but I feel far from home, and these are tumultuous times, and  I’m having a hard time seeing exactly how any beauty (terrible or not) will come of these ruptures–so many hearts have been made into stone and too many purposes seem at odds; another of Yeats’s grim poems (“The Second Coming“) resonates:

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.

But I’m tired–literally and figuratively–and that fatigue might be inciting apocalyptic visions when the world is just spasming again in a way that is frightening but not a new “blood-dimmed tide.”

2 thoughts on “And What Rough Beast


    Much of the summer I have been saying, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” I wonder if there haven’t always been persons wise enough to see this, persons who preceded Yeats. The other line pops up comes from Jesus–“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” So much in my life, our lives is so terribly divided. We almost never get 90/10 or 80/20. Over and over on so many fronts the line is 52/48, 51/49, or something similar.Have a great trip.I have been to Dublin but while the split was so solid.GeorgiaSwift is still one of my favorites. I can read a Shaw play anytime!

    Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016 23:01:34 +0000 To:

    1. todmarshall

      Hi Georgia–good to hear from you! A big hug to you–look forward to seeing you again. We’ll hope that the “awake people” (Stafford) start acting as if they are awake and caring for one another and the things they create.

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