Judie Rae: A Second Reading Of The Second Coming

Live long enough and Yeats’ words
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
take on new meaning.
Perhaps the critics were wrong
and the poet penned those phrases
not in anticipation of fascism in 20th Century Europe
but of
old age.

The centre of my filling
is failing.
Among my friends,
cataracts abound.
And yes, the ice age looms ever closer.
We all slouch now, not to
Bethlehem, but around town.

I have proof:
Troubles my sight, he says,
Moving its slow thighs.
With age, all our thighs are slow.

The darkness drops again.
Exactly.

I like his poem
better now.
I can explain it to students in terms
they’ll one day understand.
Not the breakdown of society
and order, but
the breakdown of bodies,
slowly, inexorably,
our hour come round at last.

Things fall apart.