Poets logo

The Second Helping

Response to Yeats

By Bernadette JohnsonPublished 3 months ago 1 min read
The Second Helping
Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

I don’t lack conviction 

so much as confidence 

as to what is the right course.

Daily paralyzed 

  by the age-old question,

  “What do you want

for dinner?”

Fixing the world 

goes on the back burner.


The above is a short response poem that sprang from my brain 🧠 one day years ago while I was making dinner 🍝 and thinking about a line from my favorite poem by William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming.“ (Go read it!)

The line: The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

It rings true. But it occurred to me (somewhat defensively) that for many of us it’s not that we lack conviction, but that we are riddled with uncertainty about what actions to take toward our convictions. And we are waylaid by the mundane yet stressful tasks of survival, like that daily time-suck of a question, “What’s for dinner?”

Of course this is probably what he meant by lack all conviction. Maybe it’s the “all” that chafed me.

My poem is not meant to be taken entirely seriously. It was but a thought in the moment, with several silly references to cooking. Yeats wrote “The Second Coming” just after the devastation of WWI and while his wife was very sick with the flu during the deadly worldwide influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.

The latter is something we can relate to now during our own deadly and seemingly never-ending pandemic. May we all find the energy and will to follow our convictions and make things better.

social commentary

About the Creator

Bernadette Johnson

Bernadette “Berni” Johnson is the author of The Big Book of Spy Trivia, many tech articles, movie reviews, short stories, and two novels in perpetual editing.

You can find her blog, other work, and mailing list at bernijohnson.com.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

Add your insights

Comments (6)

Sign in to comment
  • Shannon Loewen3 months ago

    I appreciate the commentary on convictions! Especially the notion that “we are riddled with uncertainty as to what actions to take towards our convictions” versus not having convictions at all. Interesting and relatable :) Thanks for sharing!

  • This comment has been deleted

  • Ibrahim Sani M3 months ago

    Talents everywhere

  • Janice Daily3 months ago

    The reference to the pandemic adds a sense of timeliness and relevance to the poem's theme. Overall, the poem presents an interesting and thought-provoking perspective on the challenges of following one's convictions. Love it!

  • Heather Lunsford3 months ago

    Well done. I feel like many people get to feeling like the master poets of the past are unrelatable in our modern world. Great job showing the relevance of a classic. And for the record "what is for dinner? Is possible the question that has caused me the most anxiety. Some days it's a harder question to answer than "will you marry me?"

  • Alfiya3 months ago

    Thoughtful and thought provoking piece.

  • An interesting response to Yeats. I think if I were to take up such a response to Yeats based on cooking it would be a funny exploration on a failed emulsion or broken eggs with an emphasis on the line "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold". LOL

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.