Wednesday wisdom: Ozymandias


Photo: White desert morning, by Carol Walker, licensed under Creative Commons: BY

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”.

                                                                                             - PB Shelley


I remember reading this poem in high school and imagining that stone half-face lying in the sand, slowly being eroded by the wind. I remember feeling sad …but also not. It is that strange in-between feeling I sometimes feel when I read passages from my various books on Buddhism. Life is fleeting and, no matter how hard we try, the small marks we make on the world will fade, one day. That knowledge is both a litte sad and a lot freeing. All things are impermanent. And that’s okay, because it means there’s no time to waste in being vain or in trying to stamp the world with the imprint of our ego. All that matters is that we enjoy the life we have, while we have it.

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One Response to Wednesday wisdom: Ozymandias

  1. Lozzatronn says:

    Well put my dear. I find it really reassuring that our impact is so fleeting :) Less pressure for sure…

    Of course, you are right re making it count and enjoying the journey!

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