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The Sheikh Who Never Studied English Verse

Once upon a time, there was a sheikh named Hamad.  He was very proud of this name.  So proud, in fact, that he had it set in letters of sand.  The letters were a kilometer long and so big you could read them from space.

Our sheikh was very happy.  Surely, he thought, everyone will see how large and impressive the letters of my name are and they will understand what a rich and accomplished person I am.

The sheikh would have saved a lot of money if he’d studied English lit in sheikh school.  He would have read a poem called “Ozymandias” by a certain Percy Bysshe Shelley and realized what a colossal waste of time and money scratching letters in the sand really is.

Thanks to this project there is one question which Hamad can now answer better than anybody else who ever lived:  How much money does it take to tell the world that you are a fool?

I met a traveller 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.’

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  • WigWag

    I have another poem about an ancient Persian sheikh that deals with the same subject.

    Even This Shall Pass Away
    Theodore Tilton

    Once in Persia reigned a King
    Who upon his signet ring
    Graved a maxim true and wise,
    Which, if held before the eyes,
    Gave him counsel at a glance,
    Fit for every change and chance.
    Solemn words, and these are they:
    “Even this shall pass away.”

    Trains of camels through the sand
    Brought his gems from Samarcand;
    Fleets of galleys through the seas
    Brought him pearls to match with these.
    But he counted not his gain
    Treasures of the mine or main;
    “What is wealth?” the king would say;
    “Even this shall pass away.”

    Lady fairest ever seen,
    Was the woman he crowned his queen,
    Pillowed on his marriage bed,
    Softly to his soul he said,
    Though no bridegroom ever pressed,
    Fairer bosom to his breast,
    Mortal flesh must come to clay,
    Even this shall pass away.

    In the revels of his court
    At the zenith of the sport,
    When the palms of all his guests
    Burned with clapping at his jests;
    He amid his figs and wine,
    Cried: “Oh loving friends of mine!”
    “Pleasure comes but not to stay;”
    “Even this shall pass away.”

    Fighting on a furious field,
    Once a javelin pierced his shield;
    Soldiers with a loud lament
    Bore him bleeding to his tent;
    Groaning from his tortured side,
    “Pain is hard to bear,” he cried,
    “But with patience, day by day,
    Even this shall pass away.”

    Towering in the public square,
    Twenty cubits in the air,
    Rose his statue, carved in stone,
    Then, the king, disguised, unknown,
    Stood before his sculptured name
    Musing meekly, “What is fame?
    Fame is but a slow decay
    Even this shall pass away.”

    Struck with palsy, sere and old,
    Waiting at the gates of gold,
    Said he with his dying breath;
    “Life is done, but what is death?”
    Then, in answer to the King,
    Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
    Showing by a heavenly ray,
    Even this shall pass away.

  • David

    I wonder if he knows it is upside down relative to North. Why wouldn’t he have it facing Mecca.

  • Toni

    Well…at least he created some jobs.

  • OzyPOTUS

    …Shovel ready.

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