I met a traveler 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 shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd 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.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)
My first instinct was to post a poem by Ruth Padel today; Padel, a British poet, has been in the news of late, first for being the first woman elected Oxford Professor of Poetry, then later for having resigned the post after evidence came to to light that she had participated in a smear campaign against one of the other leading candidates for the post. But I didn't like any of her poetry, so I fell back on this standard.