Ozymandias Lives On

Ozymandias (1818) by Percy 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.'”

This poem reminds me of our political leaders today…..the idea that we elect people with such gigantic egos such that they like so many men and women before them gravitate towards their own newfound powers, building monuments to their greatness which will all certainly crumble to dust like Ozymandias after many eons suffering under the weight of cruel uncaring Time. A giant toe or foot or footnote will then be all that remains to remind future travelers of some futile attempt at immortality by some anonymous long forgotten tyrant…….and so history repeats itself.

That’s why I love poetry and artists of all kinds. They are the only ones left in society it seems with the objectivity to recognize and see the beauty, the horror, and the absurdity of building monuments to ourselves and our political aspirations. The greater good is increasingly ignored today by our leaders, so sand-castle building is in full swing today more than ever.

It seems like we are no different than people years ago. Our desires and dreams are no different than what people hoped to achieve 200 or even 2000 years ago The only different between people in Percy Shelley’s day (1818) and our own is the presence of “enlightened people” who saw clearly the character flaws of the leaders of their time. We seem to be blind to our own, repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again, electing people who possess even greater political bravado and reckless abandon than ever before. It makes you wonder why that is…….not why we have such people who, regardless of the times, will always exists. I have to ask, why our society has embraced such people and are unable, unwilling, or uneducated enough to see them for who and what they truly are? What has our culture lost that we no longer have the intellectual insight to learn from history and recognize our own fallen Human nature in our leaders and ourselves? Has Humanity in 2017 returned to being uneducated animals again, focused on our desires, wealth, and drive for power such that we no longer value the older systems of life-long self-education, intellectualism, enlightenment, and Truth???

-the Author

#ozymandias #mythopoeia #myth #percyshelley



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