"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Frigg | Fall/Winter 2023/24 | What Rough Beast | Claire Scott
artwork for Claire Scott's poem What Rough Beast

What Rough Beast
Claire Scott
        —After “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats

Are they still here, the prophets
with their bristled words, warning
the center cannot hold?

Isaiah and Jeremiah are you still here?
Is that you Daniel living under a bridge
and you Amos shooting up despair?

Moses, have you resigned? No more climbing
a ragged mountain to receive God’s holy word,
returning to find yet another golden calf.

Easier to ignore the crazed intensity
of the man on the corner with blank and pitiless eyes
claiming to predict the future,

Raving about famine and floods,
burning forests and fallow fields
while we close our ears la la la.

Easier to water lush lawns, flip on the AC
and drive a fuel guzzling Durango
to drown out the rocking cradle,
              the rough beast.

Claire Scott’s Comments

I love “The Second Coming” and feel, like Yeats, we are living in a dark time. The prophets have given up and turned to drugs since no one listens. And we keep on keeping on, moving inexorably toward the Sixth Extinction. Easier to ignore what is right in front of us. And I confess I put on the A/C and water outside plants. But I drive an old Honda Civic.

Table of Contents

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 62 | Fall/Winter 2023/24