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Thread: The Ceremony of Innocence

  1. #1
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    Mar 2014
    Redwood Empire

    The Ceremony of Innocence

    This pharase has interested me for years as something to think about. I have my own ideas about what Yeats meant, but would like to know what others think. This could even be a phrase lifted from a scholarly work. I have never researched it, I must admit.

    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: 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,
    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?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Redwood Empire
    Okay. A ceremony of something is not the thing itself. A ceremony is an empty thing, a symbol of something that may not exist. The ceremony of innocence was drowned, but not innocence itself. Innocence itself had not been around for a long time, maybe thousands of years. Europe had no actual innocence to drown. Its innocence had been an empty ceremony for a long time.

    That is my current interpretation, but I do not say it is correct. We may never know what great poets have meant with some of their peculiar and provocative phrases. Maybe they just laid it out there in all it ambiguity for the human race to keep in their cuds and contemplate. Cheers.
    Last edited by desiresjab; 09-04-2015 at 07:19 AM.

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