Ozymandias Replies

October 30, 2022 Reading time: ~1 minute

So, friend, you think my face and legs in stone
Are signs that I have failed? Friend, think again.
When I ascended to my marble throne
The land was forest, meadow, lakeside glen.
I took it and I wasted it. This desert tract
Stands as my most expansive monument:
Dead-life, as blank as hope, as bald as fact.
I made a world of sand. And it's this spent
Stage-set, bleached clean, that I am proudest of—
More than my palaces and bling and war—
Because it's the perfection of my love
When my rule's push came to my people's shove.
We tyrants know what power's really for.
I made my desolation to endure.

—Adam Roberts


Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

March 3, 2012 Reading time: ~1 minute

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi.
Photograph by Rashed Al Za’abi (via Flickr).

Al-Khazneh, Petra

January 14, 2012 Reading time: ~1 minute

Al-Khazneh (The Treasury), Petra.
Photograph by Jorge Tutor.

July 19, 2011 Reading time: ~1 minute

Hotel Atlantis, Dubai.
via Tumblr (source unattributed).

Water in the window

July 17, 2011 Reading time: ~1 minute

The traditional [Middle-Eastern] way of storing water is in the clay pot hanging in the window.

Photograph by "KMS".


July 17, 2011 Reading time: ~1 minute

So it’s no surprise that I’m captivated by … the colorful stain glass half-circle-shaped windows in most homes here. It’s an odd home that doesn’t have at least one. They scatter multi-colored sunlight into the homes during the day, then reflect homelight out onto the streets at night, making the houses appear bejeweled.

Some say this is after the word for “moon”.

Then I wonder … Do I let the sunlight into my heart into my heart by day and share the light within by night? Is there beauty in my life, inside and out?

Photograph by "KMS".
{x} {xx}


April 20, 2009 Reading time: ~1 minute

It seems no work of Man's creative hand,
By labor wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
Eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!
Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
Where erst Athena held her rites divine;
Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
That crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;
But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
That first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
Which Man deemed old two thousand years ago.
Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
A rose-red city half as old as time.

—John William Burgon (1845),
Winner of the 1845 Newdigate Prize.

We Are Shangri-La

January 11, 2009 Reading time: 2 minutes

We raise and raze our city
like the strangest house of

a ghost-breath mist of snow
where no snow falls

for we are
Atlantis and the town of Prester

Three weeks apart from
never, we dance and do not

We are

History has dreamed
of us. History has dreamed of

Those who know the way,
many times return.

History has
dreamed of us, building up our

just to watch it burn.

are Shangri-la.

We carry
goddess-dust upon our skin,
wherever we go,

rising with
bright feathers in the

Blessed by the wind, we
dance; we thrive.

We shimmer in
the never-was.

We are

Those who know the

Relieving saddened sleep
and fitful visions, we return.

raise our city high. We watch our
city burn.

We are the mirage for
those who dare to come and

The burning in our blood
will set us free.
We are free.

are Shangri-la.

—S.J. Tucker, 
Quartered: Songs of Palimpsest (2009)