Thursday, April 7, 2011


Watching the News the last few months, beginning in Egypt and, like a virus spreading to surrounding nations experiencing similar dictatorships, I was reminded of this poem, which is one of my favourites, by 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.

Ironically, from what I have read, this poem was written about Rameses the Great, Pharoah of Egypt and speaks of this mighty dictator and all that was left of him in the end.  The theme really is that all dictators come to nothing – even if they had considered themselves indestructible.  (That is obviously a very simplistic overview!)

Pride is something we can fall into it without really knowing that we have until the Light shines into an area and you want to fall on your face with shame.  The areas that this ugly trait can trap us in seems infinite: Our position, our jobs, our wealth, our families, our educational qualifications, our background… more subtly, how many blog/twitter followers you have, how many FB friends you have and how many comments you receive compared to the next person!
What is that Proverb? “Pride goes before destruction,  a haughty spirit before a fall?”  –  this poem illustrates that – as does biblical history, not so? 
Some of the humblest people I have heard of are not people that put themselves on a pedestal and say “Look at me!” like Ozymandias did,  they are people whose lives force your gaze to fall upon them. Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, … three that come to mind immediately.
of course, Christ - The perfect model of a servant leader.
He always had time to hear the voices and hearts of those around him. Isn't this a better way to be remembered than being a decaying thought in the mind of others?


1 comment:

  1. So glad you put it down, lg.
    Very thought provoking post


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