Statues May Crumble, But Words Remain


Thursday Verseday with Arlinda  


And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,

Look on my Works, ye Mighty and despair!

Nothing besides remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

(Percy Shelley, “Ozymandias” 9-14)


Percy Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” is a phenomenal depiction of the power of words. In the poem, the speaker conveys the idea that the strength of a king will turn to ruins while the essence of words can be preserved throughout time. Although the statue of King Ozymandias had long since turned to “decay” that became both “boundless” and “bare” the words on the pedestal remained.

Art is timeless; it has no moment of expiration. Books are read and taught in school that span centuries, from hieroglyphics of ancient civilizations to current events in today’s media, and we learn from each text. This poem shows that although King Ozymandias may have been respected or feared based on the physicality of his being in life, it was not the statue of him that prompted the speaker of the poem to notice the king, but rather it was the words on the pedestal that brought alive the memory of a king who was no longer living.

Words are important. It is our words, our voice, which have the capability of inciting change within the world. Writers throughout time have left their legacy in the works they have written; poems, books, newspapers, stories passed down from generation to generation, these are the things that are still remembered centuries after their date of origin. Percy Shelley was a poet during England’s Romantic Era and his poem “Ozymandias” is still remembered today, not only for the excellent use of literary devices throughout the poem, but for the significance it attributes to the power and duration contained within written words. Our words are important, and more importantly, they can create an impact for generations to come. It is vital that each individual realize they hold the power to make their words meaningful.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj