The Widening Gyre
Updated: May 18, 2020
While contemplating everything that is going on in the world at the moment, I was reminded of a poem I studied in school by W.B Yeats, called ‘The Second Coming’. I thought of this poem as it has apocalyptic themes, which seems appropriate for what we are experiencing right now. With people in quarantine, thousands of people dying from coronavirus, and no clear ending in sight, it does feel like the apocalypse is upon us at times. Yeats also speaks of gyres in the poem, which are a kind of spiral or vortex. For him gyres could be a symbol for many things, however, to me, the “widening gyre” that he speaks about, signifies the increasing chaos happening all around, before the gyre would begin again for a new cycle.
Before Covid-19, I already felt an impending feeling of apocalypse. Within the last few years we have had a greater awareness of climate change and also an impending time-frame for us to change our ways of living before it might be too late for humankind. With this still being an issue, and the world being confronted with a pandemic and all that comes with it, life now has a surreal, dystopian quality to it.
I also feel a certain kind of peace since quarantine has started. It feels like nature can take a breath. I don’t know if I am only noticing the sounds of nature more because the streets are less busy, but it appears that the lack of human activity is allowing the wildlife to flourish. I think other people are noticing it too. There is a slower pace to life now and it leaves space to notice the little things around us. It seems that a lot of people foresee a new way of life for all of us after quarantine is over and the restrictions are lifted. I hope this is the case. The start of a new cycle.