She came into the room like a candle burning with a cold, clear flame. ...She was not a tall woman, but shapely, wearing a black dress with a plunging neckline and a slash in one side that showed off a generous portion of pale thigh. Black gloves covered her hands to above the elbows, and her three-hundred-dollar shoes [*SQUEEE*] were a study in high-heeled torture devices...
Um, what's not to like? The *squeee* was added by me, by the way.
Anyway, as I said, I loved the book. Good pacing and action kept this an enjoyable read, but then, at the very end, the author referenced a most profound poem, and I was mightily impressed.
Falcons and falconers.
The centre cannot hold.
Yeats had some kooky ideas, but The Second Coming seems eerily prescient. He believed the world was a gyre, a great spiral which would become increasingly unstable until-- at the end of the second millennium-- things would hie themselves to a fiery place in the conveyance of a woven basket. Turning in a widening gyre, the falcon flies up and away from the falconer and cannot hear him call for the return to its base. The falcon and falconer represent the primitive self and the intellect, with the former no longer governed by the wisdom of the latter. Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold. A structure with no core can not be stable. The wild outward spirals of the falcon only make for more instability. What a mess.
Then again, Yeats was living at the end of a century, and in such times, people always consider their moment pregnant with gravity and potential for as-yet-untold degrees of horror and misery. Probably means nothing at all, but it sounds mighty pretty.
Stop me now. I'll type for hours. Anyhoo. What was the point? Oh, yeah: read The Dresden Files. You'll like 'em.
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 around 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?
William Butler Yeats