Monday, December 17, 2012


Standing before the broken statue of Ramesses II, I started to think of Percy Shelley's famous poem "Ozymandias".

"I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desart. 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."

Looking at this statue with the words of the poem circling in my mind, I think about the great works and efforts of those who have come before I me.  I look around at the crumbling remains of all they had sought to create.  So much of it is now dust.  So little of what they did has survived into the modern consciousness.  Those who are remembered are only a tiny fraction of those who were there.  The further back you go, the more tenuous the memories.  Much of the distant past now exists as no more than stories, a barely remembered series of anecdotes that have become so intertwined with artistic embellishments that any truth is almost gone.  It is terrifying to consider that the great works, the great efforts are all transient in nature.  Even the accomplishments that are carved in the hardest of stone crumble into dust.  These are troubling thoughts to have.
I start thinking about my own life and the few things I have achieved.  That in all likelihood, the memory of my existence would last no more than one or two generations past my death, held only by those closest to me.

Looking again at the collapsed statue seemed to be almost like slander against all the efforts that had been expended in its creation.  It was like looking at an incomplete work of art never intended for viewing or seeing the notes to an author's book.

So I thought that I would take the imagery created by the poem further by adding extra insult to Ramesses II's injury by giving his fallen down statue a wet willy.

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