Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Ozymandias: Nothing beside remains

This is one of my favorite poems. I learned it as a child, and didn’t understand it, but liked the exotic loneliness it evoked. I could hear the wind whistling across the empty sands, feel the grains on my cheek – so very different from my home in Alaska, and yet – not so different. In Alaska, the wind blew cold, and the grit against my cheek was snow! The memory of these ironic words lives in my heart.

The words come back to me, now and again as we stand amidst remains of complex, abundant civilizations that are now lifeless stone and rubble.

Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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 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 upon 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.

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If you read through the entire poem, you are challenged to tell us about a poem that YOU still remember, and why. 😉

October 14, 2007 - Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Communication, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Poetry/Literature, Public Art

4 Comments »

  1. Oh, I love this poem. I remember reading it in my high school English Lit class and wanting to weep. And I remember that it was used beautifully in The Claim (http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9904EFDD153BF933A15757C0A9679C8B63), where it made me sob and sob in the movie theater.

    What a heart-wrenching poem. And what a joy to find that our poetry taste is a family thing as well 🙂

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | October 15, 2007 | Reply

  2. I remember riding with our aunt and uncle up to the river house, and they would recite poems all the way – I guess in their day, they had to memorize poetry!

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 15, 2007 | Reply

  3. NO WAY!!

    I ADORE THAT POEM! I’ve written papers and given presentations about it!!

    Comment by Swair | October 15, 2007 | Reply

  4. Swair – Now why am I not surprised? What other poems do you like?

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 15, 2007 | Reply


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