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.

I haven’t read much poetry this month but I have read many words about the English Romantic Poets. Two works of non-fiction and a literary homage. This is the start of a themed read that’s likely to weave its way throughout 2013. Anyway as I was reading I looked up the odd poem here and there and this 1818 sonnet by Shelley, inspired by an ancient Egyptian statue, felt very modern. How many times in recent years have we seen gigantic icons of political leaders, toppled and left lying in the dust?

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