Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Impermanence and a little Shelley

Meditating on impermanence is the best strategy I know for surviving the current political climate with equanimity. I've thought of "Ozimandius" a number of times over the past few months and so I identified with the person who posted the whole sonnet on one of the Eschaton comment boards last night. I offer it here for you with the recommendation that we visualize the picture painted by these marvelously descriptive words as a way of centering and gaining perspective:

by Percy Bysshe Shelley
First Published in 1817

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, the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandius, 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."

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