Yeats had a cyclical view of history in which very briefly much the same events come round roughly every two thousand years, each cycle or era, or in Yeats's own terminology, each complete expansion of the gyre, starts off with a union between the divine and the human. Thus the Virgin Mary's conception of Jesus initiated the Christian epoch, which, by the twentieth century, was nearly at its end. In this poem, written in 1920, Yeats foresees that end, and has a vision of what's on the horizon.
The Second Coming
Recording commissioned by the Poetry Archive, shared here with kind permission of our reader.