This poem is commended in the Golden Shovel challenge on Young Poets Network (YPN), judged by Peter Kahn. A Golden Shovel poem uses a phrase from a pre-existing text to make up the end-words for each of its lines. Find out more about the Golden Shovel form here.

Time Traveller

by Ellora Sutton

A Golden Shovel after ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley

They have built things, these wrists, my
teeth and tongue, they howl my name
I hear it in the downpour, the glass is
rattled with it, a furious Ozymandias
gale-force. I choke on the word king
the wisteria forming my spinal cord isn’t of
bending bowing shade. I spit on kings.

I have done worse things. Look
unblinking, until your eyelashes drop, on
the crimes of my lungs, the sins of my
knuckles. I have read leather-bound works
from lost ancient greats, pages cancer ye-
llow and found their words not mighty
but vital like foot-worn paths and
bleeding soles. I have translated despair
from sunflower seeds and found nothing

nothing lasts. Stone weeps to sand beside
the stone fists of kings. Nothing remains.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

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