Saturday, February 16, 2019

Slay the Beast, Bring the Bird Home

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise ye princes, and prepare the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed.

And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. – Isaiah 21: 5-9

Related imageWhen Babylon was taken, its inhabitants were engaged in revelry.

As yet more soft snow settles silently around me I try to imagine how President Trump must feel today. I hope he’s angry. In fact I hope he’s enraged. Furious that although he was elected by millions of Americans to fix our dangerous, porous border, the rest of the ruling class has chosen to spit in his - and our - eye.

I suppose we should be grateful that they’ve finally made clear what we’ve suspected all along: they really don’t give a crap what we the people think or want. They are engaged in their own revelry.

Again I point out the constancy of Yeats poem in these strange days.

Image result for the second coming yeats

The Second Coming

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?

As do the words of Dylan’s bit more contemporary take on the situation (performed here by Jimi Hendrix):

All Along the Watchtower

There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief

Business men, they drink my wine
Plowman dig my earth
None were level on the mind
Nobody up at his word
Hey, hey

No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But, uh, but you and I, we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us stop talkin' falsely now
The hour's getting late, hey

All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants, too
Outside in the cold distance
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl

Songwriter: Bob Dylan

It might be worth noting that in later years whenever Dylan sang this song he repeated the first verse at the end. “There must be some kind of way outta’ here.” I like that, it seems a bit more optimistic.

Related image

Slay the beast, bring the bird home.