The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats
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
Find full text at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172062
Yeats’ poem has been turning and turning in my head since the revelations this last week that the infamous video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine was found. Earlier, Toronto’s mayor has been described by his supporters as one of the most honest people you can ever find, disciplined and full of conviction.
Since then, he made a public apology, such as it was, but also issued an announcement that he would be making an important announcement on his weekly radio program. CTV cameras were crammed into the small studio with him and his brother Doug, and Rob Ford looked bloated, beaten and very sad, not to mention scared. In a monotone, he mumbled apologies, insisting that apologies were absolutely all he could do at this point, and then announced the big one: He would be hiring a driver.
He did have a driver earlier on, but that one’s since been arrested and is awaiting trial on all sorts, including extortion and drug related crimes. Then, to resume a sense of normalcy, Mayor Ford picked up a list of community events, and proceeded to read them in a half dead voice, rubbing at his face. The first item was for an event that would have been finishing up as he spoke, but he plowed through. I wondered if he didn’t realize the day’s date. Several items into the list, someone in the studio must have realized the same, because he suddenly looked up, and told us the day’s date, then proceeded with the mumbled list. Eventually it petered out and he got back to his apology. Then he trailed off saying he had no words left. His brother took over and announced they’d be taking a break.
They went off air at that point, and by the following Friday both had been relieved of their radio program by the station manager.
Mayor Ford had plenty of words in the latest video to hit the news, where in a drug induced frenzy (no, that is not alcohol talking) he pummels the air and viciously demonstrates how he is going to murder someone who has troubled him. Apparently that someone had referred to his brothers as liars, thieves and birds. Birds?
My mother, who would be 99 if she was still alive, used the term to denote men past their prime. Was this the insult that would drive Ford to gouge out a man’s eyes before killing him? From various online gangster dictionaries, I have determined that bird could mean cocaine, a young girl, or one hundred dollars. Take your pick. None of these alternatives fit the context of insults, but then maybe his syntax was off, along with his respiration and heart beat.
Meanwhile, Toronto’s best seem to be standing around with their hands in their pockets, afraid to make a move against a man whose behavior has been so questionable that the police have spent huge amounts of money tailing him, piling up evidence of all sorts of telephone calls to drug sellers and eerie meetings in vacant parking lots, with packages being left in Ford’s vehicle. The Mayor is known to frequent crack houses, pal with known criminals, and vividly describe how he will stamp out someone’s life. Apparently he can do it in ten minutes, he’s pretty sure. A background voice suggests five is all he’d need, but no, Ford , full of passionate conviction, wants to make sure the job is done well.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed.