Kate and I got into an argument at Waterloo Gardens this morning:
Kate: “I kind of want to find a planter that’s a statue head. I don’t know whether Beverley Nichols would have liked it or been horrified by it. And then there’s that poem, about the giant head…”
John: “Huh? Giant head?”
Kate: “Yeah, you know, the GIANT RUINED HEAD. You KNOW that poem, they made us learn it in seventh grade! With the giant legs, and the sand, and the desert…”
John: “That poem sounds awesome. But I don’t know it.”
Kate: “Shut up, you totally know it! Get out your iPhone and Google ‘poem statue desert‘.”
And so I do, and I am introduced for the first time to:
THE MOST METAL POEM EVER WRITTEN
OZYMANDIAS Percy Bysse 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 shatter'd visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things, The hand that mock'd 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 mean! Holy. Fucking. SHIT. That is the most metal poem ever. How did I not hear about this sooner? It’s got EVERYTHING:
- It’s got the Majesty of Rock, with the sneering, and the blowing sand, and the easy, melodramatic, and theatrical irony.
- It’s got that twelve-cylinder pomp that you see on Iron Maiden album covers.
- Tolkien nerd art is FULL of ancient crumbling fearsome king dudes.
- Charlton fa’ Chrissakes HESTON was influenced by it!
Plus, Shelley’s heavy-metal admonition is totally apropos for someone who spends their working day pushing electrons around on a magnetized platter; both in the positive and negative senses. Man, I could have been using this poem on a daily basis since… well, since seventh grade! Was I sick that day? Damn! DAMN!!!
The main reason that I can’t believe I didn’t know about this poem is because of this blog post in 2003, about our neighbor Todd’s placement of a GIANT, CRUMBLING SANTA CLAUS HEAD in his yard. God help us, think of all the cheezy blog-post titles I could have written!
Kate, thanks for finally closing this gap in my knowledge. This is as big, to me, as the Digitas co-worker who finally, belatedly introduced me to the Flashman series, after incredulously learning that I didn’t know about them. Sheesh, what else am I missing?