Poem Project – entry #13 Ozymandias
On the way to the beach in Cotuit stands an aging elm. This tree was often my grandmother’s destination on her daily walk. “I’m going to say hello to Ozymandias,” she’d say.
I knew that the name referenced a poem. I looked it up once, ages ago when my grandmother was still alive, but my memory of the poem was long gone. I had to look it up again – as well as some background on who Ozymandias might be.
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
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 like thinking about my grandmother’s tree better than some old statue this poem might be written about.
An ancient tree stands as a mighty testament to time – the tree, Ozymandias, was probably well into his second century by the time my family set down roots in his neighborhood! I don’t even know if it still stands; I’ve not been to Cotuit in Cape Cod for at least 10 years now. If the tree is gone then what remains of Ozymandias is only my memory – but how uncanny that my story and art are able to extend its visage on into time and across a continent.
However, in the end it shall be the same – dust to dust – and “lone and level sands stretch far away.”
This page took me awhile to finish. I drew the sketch for it way back during spring break and I started putting it together during that week too. But I had a tough time figuring out how to make it look right. I ended up finishing it with a paper adhesive that I’ve used before in creating a fabric journal. The varnish allowed me to stick stuff down without too many stitches – stitching is sometimes just too much.