'Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world'


The Second Coming

by W. B. 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?

by W. B. Yeats

'The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats' by W. B. Yeats (1989)


Poem as Friend to Dominic

The Second Coming USE THIS.jpg
The Second Comingby W. B. Yeats

In this inaugural episode of our podcast, you will hear Dominic talking about the poem that has been a friend to him: ’The Second Coming’ by W. B. Yeats.

‘It’s just stuck with me, in a good friend way…it’s got this negative vision but this beautiful frame that can’t seem to support that, which is I guess is why I go back to it.’

Dominic visited The Poetry Exchange at St Chad’s College Chapel, as part of Durham Book Festival in October 2015. We’re very grateful to Durham Book Festival, New Writing North and St Chad’s College for hosting The Poetry Exchange. Do visit them for further inspiration!


Dominic is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members Fiona Lesley Bennett and Michael Shaeffer.

'The Second Coming' is read by Michael Shaeffer.


We talk to people about the poem that has been a friend to them.

In exchange we create a gift for them, a bespoke reading of their chosen poem inspired by the conversation. Our award-winning podcast shares these unique and powerful stories of connection with people across the world. 


We set up an intimate environment for these conversations at festivals, in arts, cultural and public spaces across the country. We also hold exchanges ‘long distance’. Our visitors come from all walks of life and we also feature well-known personalities such as Andrew Scott, Maxine Peake, Roy McFarlane and Paterson Joseph.