Monday, January 23, 2017


An anonymous commenter posted this poem in the comments section of a prior post. It is based on Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem: Ozymandias. It is too good not to share. With my thanks to Anon.


I met a blogger from a Beltway land, who said
Two cracked and polished screens of glass
Lie in a Rose Garden. Near them, in an Oval office
Half stunned, a shattered redeemer sits, whose lies
And upturned nose, and sneer of cold disdain
Tell that this Messiah ill his nation's spirit read
Which yet survive, clingd to time honored things
The hands that prayed for her and the sons who bled
And on the prompter these words inscribed
"My name is Obamandias, Bringer of Hope
Look upon my Change, ye righties, and despair"
Nothing besides remains. Round the wreck
Of that colossal Self, unbounded and malign
The vain and empty dream didst fritter away 


Ares Olympus said...

I hadn't heard the poem before. Apparently there are two version, setting up this newest addition.
Shelley wrote the poem in competition with his friend Horace Smith, who published his sonnet a month after Shelley's in the same magazine. It takes the same subject, tells the same story, and makes a similar moral point, but one related more directly to modernity, ending by imagining a hunter of the future looking in wonder on the ruins of an annihilated London. It was originally published under the same title as Shelley's verse; but in later collections Smith retitled it "On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below".

The central theme of "Ozymandias" is contrasting the inevitable decline of all leaders and of the empires they build with their pretensions to greatness.

For me I'd say the topic seems too deep to apply to mere partisan resentments, and it perhaps is extra ironic that the new president's vow is "Make America Great Again" while as best I can tell, what we're really in process of disassembling the American Dream and selling it to the highest bidder, or lowest bidder, depending on how public the auction is.

My neo-Malthusean fears relate to my friend Nate Hagens saying "We don't have a shortage of energy, but a longage of expectations." The future can't possibly be big enough for the appetite of the new super-elite, the top 0.01% much less the rest of us.

First we created a global economy where the total energy expended in every decade had to exceed the total energy used in all previous decades, and when that failed, we substituted it with creating more new debt every decade than all preceding decades. And its not clear how many more decades we can finance this lie. All boats seem to be lifted only because we're spending down one-time inheritence ever faster.

The lesson I think I've learned from Trump is once we went down the path of a dishonest economy, where failures can not be mentioned, and where "economic indicators" have been set up to show what leaders want to see, we're long past reason or truthful facts.

So in that world of lies, Trump is the leader who learned the secret is to tell the biggest lies. Or that was Hitler I suppose, but remember how well that worked - it inspired the people to work very hard to recover their greatness, taking from their neighbors what was rightfully theirs, and it was glorious all the way up until the end.

Donald Trump's lies might be white lies of the biggest heart, and we listen because we don't want to know the truth, but just a daily tweet to keep on keeping on, as long as our great leader tells us the promised land is ahead.

Obamandias is too small a vision of collapse that we're facing. It's all such a shame. Our descendants will marvel at our ruins, and our wastefulness.

It should make some epic poetry, which is still mostly a low-cost occupation.

Anonymous said...

I would have responded earlier, Doc, but I spent the past 20 hours in an hospital bed recovering from the Jaw re-attachment surgery necessitated by seeing my comment posted on your blog. You ever do anything like that before -- post a comment on your blog within a couple of hours of its appearance

The seed for that parody was planted SEVEN years ago, when I came across an article comparing Obama to Ozymandias at American Thinker. As I happen to have a talent for this sort of thing, I composed this sonnet on the spot. Then it was a matter of waiting for this work to be timely. Didn't think it would take seven years.

I thought you MIGHT react the way you did, because it's happened before. If you Google "Obamandias" and "Callmelennie" you'll find it at American Digest and Thepeoplescube.

Anonymous Drive By Commenter

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

And the Messiah's Democrat Party continues its path of self-destruction, self-immolation and self-parody:

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I think it was the first time, but I did find the poem especially good... and I know how difficult it is to do it. I was very happy to share it.

Ares Olympus said...

p.s. I see Anon's reference here, by By J.R. Dunn, September 9, 2009, no poetic rewrites, but a long reflective article.
Obama could easily prevail by setting aside his status as god-emperor, dropping the effort to leave his imprint on the age and ignoring the cries of his more fanatical followers. In other words, by acting as a president. But this is unlikely on any number of cultural, political, and personal grounds.

He is on the descending escalator, and is doomed to take it all the way to the bottom. It is our business to see that he doesn't drag the country down with him. Fortunately, his failures have a flip side.

The past few months have shown us that Obama is extremely vulnerable to public pressure, as clearly shown by the town halls. We will have plenty of opportunity to put those tactics into effect in the months and years to come. When would-be imperators appear, the people have to step in. But that's why they call it democracy.

It looks like both Obama and Trump have fanatical followers. And I imagine when the disaster of Trump's 4 years becomes apparent, Trump's supporters will be in as much denial as Obama supporters are now.

The vision of the downward escalator might fit Trump's initial declaration to run for president when the visions of Mexican Rapist and Murders first infected his imagination. It would be easy to just call it honest fears, except then he had to face a judge of Mexican heritage who might have power over him, and that was much too dangerous to not speak out, just in case the world would believe his victim status.

The more I think, the more it seems accurate to call Trump the anti-Obama. Obama tried to take the high road, and be as inclusive as he could, but that forced the Republicans to take the low road, and the lowest road to Hell in Donald Trump.

They say things can move in two directions at the same time, and for every action, a reaction. So while I have no confidence that putting a god-emperor conman in as president is a good idea, and others had no confidence that putting a god-emperor community organizer in as president was a good idea, but these are simply the opposite sides of the same coin.

You'd almost think America will actually elect a socialist next time, if this political swing keeps going higher