Face On Mars (Imaginary Ozymandias)



Expressing weighty representation,
reclined, intently staring at the stars,
this monument of civilization,
by those who built the grand canals on Mars



and watched our younger species since our birth
and knew one day we’d arrive at their door,
this message for the infant culture Earth,
perhaps a warning of what came before
(to check the greenhouse gases we’d produce,
or we, too, may of life become bereft,
baked in the steam of our own planet’s juice –
a mountainous countenance, all that’s left),

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turned out to be only our projection
and not a notice for our protection.




The Greek name for the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC), was Ozymandias.

For those of you possibly unfamiliar with Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias, here it is:

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.


Since the Face on Mars turned out to be mere pareidolia, we can relax and collectively breathe a sigh of relief that an older and wiser culture, based on their own experience, didn’t view us as following along their path to our own destruction.   OR CAN WE?



One thought on “Face On Mars (Imaginary Ozymandias)

  1. It’s sort of interesting to me how much wishful thinking has influenced our view of Mars. It’s like we really, really wanted to find a civilization there. And so with the canals and the face of Mars, we saw exactly what we wanted to see.


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