Percy Bysshe Shelley calls the Poetry Crisis Line

STAFFER: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: I met a traveller

STAFFER: Are you calling on his or her behalf? Did the traveler cause the problem?

CALLER: from an

COUNSELOR: Is this an unrequited love sort of call?

CALLER: antique land,

STAFFER: Is that the used furniture store on Route 10?

CALLER: Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Stand in the desert. . . .

STAFFER: I don’t know. Was it Led Zeppelin? It sounds like something they might say.

CALLER: Near them,

STAFFER: Pink Floyd?

CALLER: on the sand,

STAFFER: The Beach Boys?

CALLER: Half sunk

STAFFER: Was it from Yellow Submarine?

CALLER: a shattered visage

STAFFER: Lyle Lovett?

CALLER: lies,

STAFFER: No, I’m doing my best here.

CALLER: whose frown,

STAFFER: I don’t know whose frown. Could you give me a hint?

CALLER: And wrinkled lip,

STAFFER: Billy Idol?

CALLER: and sneer of cold command,

STAFFER: David Bowie!

CALLER: Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

STAFFER: [sings] “And in the cracks along the sidewalk…” Was it that song Elton John wrote after John Lennon died?

CALLER: Which yet survive,

STAFFER: Paul McCartney? Ringo?

CALLER: stamped on these lifeless things,

STAFFER: Dead Can Dance?

CALLER: The hand that mocked them,

STAFFER: Weird Al?

CALLER: and the heart that fed;

STAFFER: Wait–is that ACDC?

CALLER: And on the pedestal,

STAFFER: Anne Murray?

CALLER: these words appear:

STAFFER: Another quote? But I haven’t figured out the first one!

CALLER: My name is Ozymandias,

STAFFER: Oh, that’s easy–Alan Moore. “Who watches the watchmen?”

CALLER: King of Kings;

STAFFER: Isn’t that who the watchmen would watch when they’re watching the Watchmaker? Um, I mean Handel’s Messiah.

CALLER: Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

STAFFER: I think that’s Galadriel the Elf Queen from Lord of the Rings. Did you just call me to ask about quotes?

CALLER: Nothing beside remains.

STAFFER: Glad to be of help, then. Where are you calling from?

CALLER: Round the decay / Of that colossal Wreck,

STAFFER: What? You should’ve said something! Do you want me to send a fire truck? Are you OK?

CALLER: boundless and bare

STAFFER: Do you need me to send clothes?

CALLER: The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

STAFFER: Uh…do you need me to send a camel?

 

_____

Read the original here:  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46565/ozymandias

Any poems or poets you want to see on the Poetry Crisis Line? Leave a suggestion in the comments