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Ozymandias in Me

Joshua Hart

 

Wise men warn, and I pay close attention,
yet cannot shake this notion from my head
that they are asking far too much of us.
I know, “’tis vanity,’ the preacher said.”
True wise men would agree, and so do I,
but a part of me must side with that bold
Ozymandias—the part that curses death,
obscurity, forgetfulness of time—
that sees the fleeting durability
of bone and seeks to carve an anthem
to itself on lasting stone, to proclaim,
“I am… or was. Do not forget!” I know
all empires turn to sand; sink to sea but
cannot deny Ozymandias in me.