Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Joni Mitchell

Turning and turning
Within the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart
The center cannot hold
And a blood dimmed tide
Is loosed upon the world
Nothing is sacred
The ceremony sinks
Innocence is drowned
In anarchy
The best lack conviction
Given some time to think
And the worst are full of passion
Without mercy
Surely some revelation is at hand
Surely it’s the second coming
And the wrath has finally taken form
For what is this rough beast
Its hour come at last
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born
Hoping and hoping
As if by my weak faith
The spirit of this world
Would heal and rise
Vast are the shadows
That straddle and strafe
And struggle in the darkness
Troubling my eyes
Shaped like a lion
It has the head of a man
With a gaze as blank
And pitiless as the sun
And it’s moving its slow thighs
Across the desert sands
Through dark indignant
Reeling falcons
Surely some revelation is at hand
Surely it’s the second coming
And the wrath has finally taken form
For what is this rough beast
Its hour come at last
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born
Raging and raging
It rises from the deep
Opening its eyes
After twenty centuries
Vexed to a nightmare
Out of a stony sleep
By a rocking cradle
By the Sea of Galilee
Surely some revelation is at hand
Surely it’s the second coming
And the wrath has finally taken form
For what is this rough beast
Its hour come at last
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born

3 Responses to 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem'

  1. Jim says:

    Hey! Those words are W. B. Yeats although Mitchell may have put it to music. From 1919. Let’s not forget our history!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Coming_(poem)

  2. Alison says:

    Should also indicate credit William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) on whose poem, “The Second Coming”, Joni based the song. http://www.potw.org/archive/potw351.html
    Glad you chose to share these words/lyrics, as they are as relevant now as they were when they were written.

  3. Candace Pfau says:

    I am just amazed at how relevant her lyric writing is. Like she envisions what is coming.