Flower Power

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Coltsfoot shouldering the tarmac aside at the derelict Middlewood Locks, between Manchester and Salford

In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.” The City’s gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

Written by Horace Smith in the early nineteenth century in competition with the better known short verse by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Ozymandias is another name for Ramesses the Great, Pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt.