Monday, January 31, 2011

For some reason

it's not a song that trundles forth from my morning jukebox but a poem, Ozymandias, by P. B. Shelley. ¿Qué Pasa. Perhaps it's the tectonic drift of memory, pushing aside the more recently acquired & exposing things learnt long ago. What next? The Andrews Sisters? The Mills Brothers? Patti Page singing Old Cape Cod? Fess Parker singing The Ballad of Davy Crockett? (Which just happened to be the first record I ever bought. The second was The Modern Jazz Quartet doing Django. Tectonic upheaval. Watershed moment.)
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".

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