George Graham

Things Fall Apart; the Center Cannot Hold

Reading of riots at the G20 conference in Toronto, worldwide climate change, a looming Depression – not just in the U.S. but in the entire western world – and another ruling by America’s highest court that strikes at the very foundation of civilized society, I cannot keep this W.B. Yeats poem from echoing through my mind:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center 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?

Scoff if you must. I wouldn’t blame you.

We’ve been hearing forever that the end is nigh. All kinds of signs and omens have come and gone … Halley’s Comet, the millennium’s end –  and on and on. Yet the battered old world keeps reeling around the sun, day after day after day.

Now, some folks insist the ancient Mayans figured it out: the end is coming in 2012. And numerous religious seers are proclaiming the imminent arrival of Christ’s Kingdom.

The skeptic in me remains stubbornly unconvinced. There have always been disasters and natural phenomena that could be viewed as signals that the world is about to end. Scholars have always pored over ancient writings and managed to come up with interpretations to fit their theories about the End Times.

But is it my imagination or are today’s current events even scarier than usual?

Who would have imagined black-clad mobs rampaging through downtown Toronto, smashing store windows, kept at bay by police firing tear gas?

Who would have predicted an unstoppable gusher spewing death and disaster throughout the Gulf of Mexico, killing wildlife, destroying wetlands, wiping out the livelihood of thousands, while the mightiest nation in the world stands helplessly by?

Who would have foreseen the failure of the world’s supposedly intelligent leaders to address the causes of a spiraling recession and their moronic adherence to obsolete economic policies that can lead only to a great depression?

And who would have guessed that the greatest democracy in the world would find its judicial system dominated by a Supreme Court committed to uncontrolled gun use, corporate abuse of the electoral system and reckless disregard for the welfare of the populace?

Somebody please tell me that things aren’t as bad as I think they are. Tell me I’m just having a bad day.


About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for