Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ephemerality


Well, I had intended to put these two poems out AFTER I finish my posts about Greece, but I published the post instead of saving in draft.


Jumped the gun, as they say.


Seeing all the archeological ruins made me reflect on how ephemeral things are. Yes, the ruins still stand, and you can see the hand of the humans who created these marvels. But the people are long gone. The gods are dead--Zeus, Apollo, Athena--all held sway and are now swept aside.



the ruins at Ephesus



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.

----------------------

SONNET 64
by William Shakespeare


When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

8 comments:

JeanMac said...

Oh my gosh, such memories from school.

LauraHinNJ said...

I see you figured out how to change your blogroll before I got around to telling you how - good for you!

I don't imagine I'll ever get to travel to Greece - thanks for the virtual visit!

Trixie said...

Ohhh...I want to go to Greece so bad! I have never read that Sonnet (that I remember), it is so poignant and fitting.

I see you are reading the Odyssey. The Fagles translation is my favorite, I hope you are enjoying it.

NCmountainwoman said...

I love the post, especially "weep to have that which it fears to lose."

We're looking forward to seeing more of Greece.

Beverly said...

I have been enjoying these posts of Greece so much. Thanks for sharing them with us...the literature too. I'm looking forward to more.

Mary said...

Thanks, again, for making me go to Merriam Webster on-line. ephemeral :o)

Trixie said...

Also, check out 'No-Man's Lands: One Man's Odyssey Through the Odyssey'
by Scott Huler

Ginnie said...

Yes, the poems remind us to keep ourselves "right sized" in this crazy world.