There is a great website out there, Poem of the Week, that is run anonymously by a good friend of mine.
This week’s poem is Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was born in 1792 and was “a renowned atheist and proponent of ‘free love’ when such things were decidedly unfashionable.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley is probably best known as husband of the brilliant author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley.
When I read this poem, the image that came to mind was a faltering America stranded in the eroding sands of the Middle East.
I can just imagine someone eventually pointing to a map of the world and then to the U.S. saying, “They used to be big. . .”
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
‘Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Poignant. . .
— Steve Clemons