Letter to the Editor
Fall of Baghdad brings to mind Shelley's poem
Friday, April 11, 2003
To the editor:
All Wednesday morning I watched the April snow filter through the blossoms of the redbud tree and watched the story of the fall of Baghdad. I have also been remembering a poem by Shelley, who made his dislike of tyranny a lifelong cause. As American Marines pulled down the statue of Saddam, the poem seemed chillingly prophetic. Democracy does work. The poem was written in l817, 186 years ago.
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.