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?
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
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