DED Space 2005-04-01 reminds us that April is National Poetry Month. A lot of the literati these days seem to think that contemporary poetry is a lost cause. I don’t know that that’s true at all; but even if it were, it would, at the most, be a good argument for promoting the poetry of the past until our contemporaries get back up to speed again. Just because something’s out of copyright doesn’t mean it’s not good anymore, and just because something’s new doesn’t mean that it’s therefore more worth running in your journals and lit mags than something old.
So, in honor of the event, the Ministry of Culture in this secessionist republic of one will be reprinting poetry throughout the month. Since Yazad reminded me how good it is just a couple of months ago, we’ll begin today with Ozymandias (1818), by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Enjoy:
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.