Friday, April 16, 2010

Slouching Toward Bedlam

This week, Israel passed out new gas masks to all citizens, urged them to restock their bomb shelters, albeit through humorous commercials and flyers printed on ice cream shades of paper (wouldn't want to scare the kids!) Yesterday, at the height of rush hour, their was a nationwide terror alert that simulated emergency scenarios, including simultaneous terror attacks at multiple locations. All arms of the security establishment took part including the Israel Police, the Israel Defense Forces, firefighters and Magen David Adom emergency service. I was stuck in traffic at 5PM and, given the road rage I encountered, I'm sure Magen David had to evacuate a few irate car drivers to local emergency rooms.

The rumors are rife of course, especially after Israel told all its citizens to evacuate Egypt's Sinai peninsula because of information that suggested terrorists would (or might already have) kidnapped Israeli citizens. Today the rumor is that Israel will bomb Iran's nuclear sites and expects retaliation, or was it that Hezbollah plans to test its newly received Scud missiles (probably also a gift from Iran) in Israeli territory?

What came to mind? Besides disbelief mixed with a bit of fear, and after I'd checked all the expiration dates on the food and water in our shelter, I couldn't help thinking of W.B. Yeats poem "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?

That it was also Poetry Daily's Poet's Pick today seemed a strange omen.

No comments:

Post a Comment