The Man That Once Was

Flying above the vast and glorious land
Looking down as the water flowed
Stood a man, like a grain of sand
Amongst the trees, animals and toads,
He was holding something in his right hand;
What is he thinking, what is he doing?
Building an icon, never to be forgot.
But as time past, the work was undoing
And the icon was now in the past,
Natures making it start to rot
Leaving only a speck uncovered by grass,
The statue had faded it had no head,
What once was gold, now looked like brass
Was now as good as dead.

Man is insignificant and his efforts are vain when compared to the forces of time and nature. This is the main theme in the poem “Ozymandias”, which I have based this poem on. Percy Bysshe Shelly published “Ozymandias” in 1818, contains this theme that man is insignificant compared to nature, which I have tried to base my poem on. Shelly’s main techniques that he used in this particular poem are imagery and the form that the poem is written in.

Shelly has used imagery as a technique to convey his main theme. He has used imagery in the image created in the audience’s mind of the rotting statue. “Two vast trunkless legs of stone”, here he creates an image of a massive statue, almost sphinx like, just rotting away into nothing. I have tried to employ this technique into my own poem by creating an image of an “icon” of mankind in nature. Over time though, rotting away to nothingness and showing how mankind is insignificant and his efforts are vain when compared to the forces of time and nature.

The second technique, form, is important in all form of poetry, especially in the Romantics. The form of “Ozymandias” is a fourteen-lined poem with a rhyming scheme as follows: ABABACDCEDEFEF, having retained this exact form in my poem.

The form of the poem and the imagery evident in Percy Shelly’s poem “Ozymandias” is evident in my poem “The Man That Once Was”. These two techniques help to convey the main theme of the...