Percy Bysshe Shelley - Ozymandias
One of the poems I clearly recalled by title alone, before even reading a word of it. It was intresting to hear Paglia note that the poet himself only has one line that is obstensibly in his own voice, the rest is information being relayed by the traveller, and then, ultimately, by Ozymandias's words.
I had never picked up on the slight nod to the early sculptor, who was able to ensure the megalomania of his pharoah was properly conveyed in the sculpture and, in fact, is the only thing that remains. I always focused on the bigger more obvious message of the ruler whose empty words have absolutely no weight and have become a warning sign to every ruler who believes in their own importance.
The poem unfolds with its own cinematic language that tells a story so compelling, we never notice that the framing device never comes back to the "I" who begins the story.
In what is a nod to my impression of Paglia's beliefs about using art as the basis for informing all learning, she writes that "Art is long, politics short." With a note to atheist Shelley's own disdain for God as "another tyrant drunk with absolute power," Paglia closes hr summation to this poem with a powerhouse observation about the extreme vision of the poem itself.