I was drawn to the word, “blood-dimmed tragedy” in the following statement of Maureen Dowd’s article titled, “Peeping Barry” in June 8 New York Times:
You could see the fear in his eyes, the fear that froze him in place, after Andy Card whispered to W. in that Florida classroom that a second plane had crashed into the twin towers. The blood-dimmed tragedy of 9/11 was chilling. But instead of rising above the fear, W. let it overwhelm his better instincts.
I know ‘blood-chilling’ and ‘blood-curdling’. But as I don’t know the word, “blood-dimmed,” I consulted English dictionaries at hand and online. None of OED, CED and Merriam-Webster includes this word and nor does Google Ngram register any incidence of “blood-dimmed.”
However, I found that “blood-dimmed tragedy” is a twist of “the blood-dimmed tide is loosed,” in William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming.”
"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;"
I wonder why Dowd – I know she loves flowery expressions - doesn’t plainly say ‘the tragedy of 9/11 was blood-chilling / curdling’ instead of ‘the blood-dimmed tragedy of 9/11 was chilling.”
How does the word “blood-dimmed,” which I cannot find in any of mainstream English dictionaries, pass current among average English speaking people? Will I be frowned on, or not, if I say “I saw a blood-dimmed car accident in my neighborhood yesterday” to my English speaking friend?