Sunday, January 8, 2012


This is in response to the prompt #99 from Tess at Magpie Tales.

Apologies to Shelley.

image: Friedlander


You are
Standing legs apart
Hands on your hips
Off with their heads
On your lips
If they but disobey
And yet you
Are moved
By the way
Her skirt
Twirls about her
And her voice
Drowns the
Desert noise
The ululations
Of a dying nation.
I tell you
King of kings
These things are
Like the dust –
Your legs
Will crumble
Beneath your lust
And kingdoms all 
Will tremble
At your fall.


  1. Love your take on Ozymandias, and didn't even pick up the rhyme consciously until I find myself singing along to this one. Would make an excellent minor-key-lady-with-a-guitar song. Now we see what toppled him in the first place.

  2. This is a great read. Love the rhythm as I read aloud and the message so clear.

  3. Social commentary, brief and revealing!

  4. Wonderful, the rhyming is fabulously done.

    I am a sucker for Yul.

  5. Interesting piece! I like the lines " Off with their heads/ On your lips/ If they but disobey/ And yet you/ Are moved/ By the way/ Her skirt/Twirls about her/ And her voice/ Drowns the/ Desert noise"

  6. Lovely adaption of The King and I. Deborah could sing this. Good job Karen.

  7. lust certainly has its way of taking down men in power...that is for sure...very nice...

  8. Concurring with all here. Well done. Beautifully put and all that!
    Admittedly, I had to look up 'Ozymandias'; and, to my delightful surprise, I found this lovely Shelley poem attached to it, which I'm sure, teacher of literature, you must know by heart and are obtusely referring to....
    '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".'

  9. come to think of it, that would have been a great role for him. he was king of Siam, and King of Egypt, so yeah, he was king of kings

    days of cohan

  10. When I lived near Raleigh I used to volunteer for Raleigh Little Theatre. I did follow spots & I remember trying to keep up with Anna as she danced around the stage in her giant dress...

  11. I love the line about the twirling skirt and then the admonishment at the end. I clicked on the "Karen" link at Poets United and was delighted to land here, my friend.

  12. So much truth in this amazing poem!

  13. Everyone: Thank you for reading and taking your time to comment. I appreciate that some of you mentioned the social commentary and others the Yul Brenner connection. Especially, I hope (if you weren't familiar with it)that you went to Shelley's Ozymandias, an incredibly telling social commentary. Some things never change.

  14. Hello.
    Enjoyed reading this.
    Vivid imagery which does indeed bring to mind The King And I.
    Nicely done!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Take Me Under Your Special Wings

  15. Oh that swirling of my favorite movie scenes ever...nice write Karen...