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On this day in 1883 Benito Mussolini was born. He allied Italy with Nazi Germany and Japan in World War Two. Unlike Hitler, he was not good at putting his plans into fruition.
He failed to make Italy a powerhouse of economic production as Germany was, and his military campaigns often ended in disaster. History has been kinder to him than to Hitler but nevertheless, both men were monstrous dictators and each came to a sticky end.
Today’s poem is by William Butler Yeats, 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: a waste of desert sand;
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
Wind 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?
Today I ask that we may all live lives free of dictatorship.