Significance of the Yeats poem

I think it's worth noting the text of W.B. Yeats' "The Second Coming" here, as it lent the title and the theme to the episode. It can be argued, in fact, that the themes conveyed in "The Second Coming" (the poem) are representative of the overall themes of this season, if not the entire series in general - coming in on the end of something, foreboding and dread, violence, and the need to be saved are all common themes between the series and the poem. I don't think the significance of AJ studying this piece in his literature class can be underemphasized.

The text is as follows:

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 Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the 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?

So ... is the blood-dimmed tide about to be loosed? I mean, it sure looks that way, doesn't it?

I also think the following line is a spot-on characterization of the two types of people on the show:

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity"

I don't know why the last part of that quote makes me think of Meadow, but it does.

Any other thoughts tying together the poem and the episode or the series in general?

Re: Significance of the Yeats poem

Well, if we really got going on this we could probably mine this one forever, but no one seems to be biting. I will say that Yeats wrote this right after WWI, and that he was basically mourning the passing of the old, aristocratic Europe and in distress about what it might mean if a bunch of proles actually managed to take over, as they'd just done in Russia. This has obvious parallels to the end of another age--the death of the real LCN, with its omerta and code of honor. Ironically, in both cases most of us would not be sad to see either way of life go, as much as it makes for a remarkable poem and remarkable television.

Don't quote me on any of this, because I haven't touched a Norton Anthology since I was an undergraduate like AJ!
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