In this installment, Philip Metres reads “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Metres is a poet and a translator whose work has appeared in numerous journals and in Best American Poetry (2002). His publications include the chapbooks Instants (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006) and Primer for Non-Native Speakers (The Kent State University Press, 2004), the translation (with Tatiana Tulchinsky) Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Selected Poems of Lev Rubinstein (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004), and the translation A Kindred Orphanhood: Selected Poems of Sergey Gandlevsky (Zephyr Press, 2003). Forthcoming is Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront, Since 1941 (University of Iowa Press, 2007). He teaches literature and creative writing at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. Were it not for Ellis Island, his last name would be Abourjaili.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ozymandias”
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.