In honor of National Poetry Writing Month, here’s a monster poem in the tradition of the Monster Manual and Shelley and Horace Smith.


As I did tourist stuff in foreign lands
like stand on Giza taking polaroids
of camels; motor to Thermopylae
by autokinito so I could see
the place where, in 300, Leonoids
did beardly kill a man with crab-claw hands;
explore; find the Nile’s source; and so on,
I found myself in an expanse of sand,
a great inverted bowl of bronze its ceiling.
I can’t deny I got a funny feeling
when I unearthed this giant marble hand.
It had a plaque, which, rather like a koan,
forced one to re-evaluate the world.
“My name is Ozymandias,” it read –
and there was more along those lines – but here’s
the rub. ‘Twas not a visage wrapped in sneers
and trunkless legs, like Shelley’s; nor, as said
Horace Smith, a single Leg; but curled
fingers and a hand. Thirty fingers.
Plus we’ve seen at least three legs, from Smith
and Shelley totaled. What monster out of myth,
what spider god, what limb-discarding dread
was Ozymandias? … and is he dead?

3 Responses to “ozymandias”

  1. paul says:

    That’s Percy Shelley, not Shelley Smith.

  2. Baf says:

    Line 7 doesn’t seem to scan at all, no matter how I distort it.

  3. paul says:

    I guess it could be amended to “explore and find the Nile’s source and so on”.

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