Ozy Variation 1 | Word-play | Michael Dickel

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Michael Dickel

Variation one on Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I, who stand half and tell which the hand—
(oh my, look, nothing of the lone met)—
said: sunk, a wrinkling, yet on the name,
on, besides that, a traveler, two.
The shattered lip, its survival mocked.
Pedestal is my remains, a colossal level
from vast desert visage and sculptor-stamped.
These Ozymandias works, round wrecks, sand—
antique. And nearby, lies, sneering—well, of words,
those kings. You, the boundless stretch of land. Trunkless,
they, whose passions appear mighty, decay,
and, far, legs frown on, cold (read lifeless).
The hearts of kings bear away the command,
things that despair. On stone, sand fed.


The poem above uses the words of Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley, re-arranged and with some slight variations in form. Below is the original and some discussion of how I constructed the variation.


Ozymandias


Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command ,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


The table below shows how I divided the words. I then used the words down each column from left to right, in order to construct my “variation.” I mad slight changes, for example, in the first column, six rows from the bottom through the first row of the second column (marked in blue), the words go “And “My Look Nothing of The lone met.” The third line in my variation, which uses those words, reads: “(oh my, look, nothing of the lone met)—”

If you are so inclined, you could use this table to go through the words of the original Shelley poem and compare them to my poem to see how I built the variation.


I	met	a traveler	from an 	antique	land			
Who	said:	Two	vast	and	trunkless	legs	of	stone
Stand	in	the	desert.	Near	them,	on	the	sand,
Half	sunk, a	shattered	visage	lies,	whose	frown,		
And	wrinkled	lip,	and	sneer	of	cold	command	,
Tell	that	its	sculptor	well those	passions	read		
Which	yet	survive,	stamped	on	these	lifeless	things,	
The hand	that	mocked	them	and		the heart	that	fed;
And	on the	pedestal	these	words	appear:			
"My	name	is	Ozymandias,	king		of kings:
Look	on	my	works,	ye	Mighty,	and	despair!"	
Nothing	beside	remains.	Round	the	decay
Of	that	colossal	wreck,	boundless	and	bare
The lone	and	level	sands	stretch	far	away.

What do you think? Is my variation poetry? Can one construct a poem using matrices in this way and still be writing poetry? I have applied a similar matrix approach to the first of the three parts of my cubist poems in entangled form to arrive at one of the other parts. See an example here (and see if you can figure out the second transformation I use to arrive at the remaining part). What do you think?

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