Ozymandias Collection

by Jack Slinkman

When talking about God’s creation, there is no better place to start than with human beings. Of course, sequentially, we were not God’s first invention, but above everything crafted in the creation narrative, above even a perfect Garden teeming with shalom, mankind was associated with what God deemed as “very good.” And, yet, sin corrupted our very being. Somehow, despite being characterized as “very good,” we became proficient in things “very bad.” While it is true to say that creation (or God’s handiwork) is good and that original sin (or mankind’s handiwork) is bad, it is impractically simplistic to think the world so black and white. Rather, human beings hold many ironies within them. How can we be divinely made and utterly depraved? To understand humanity is both to celebrate God’s beautiful design and to grieve sin’s terrible blemish—mankind is nothing if not a conundrum. By extension, the theme of creation abounds with many Gospel ironies. It is wonderfully made. It is tragically marred. My writing seeks to juxtapose these two ideas. “Flora Ozymandias” keys in on the human condition and “Flora Emmanuel” on the Gospel. As sister poems, the two ideas converse with one another. For added measure, the poems riff off of nature-based imagery provided in Genesis 1-3 and in Jonah. Where creation has been marred, my pieces aspire to be investigative, transparent, and personal. Where creation remains beautiful, my pieces aspire to be persuasive, exacting, and relatable. The two poems (“Flora Ozymandias” and “Flora Emmanuel”) and the essay (“Ozymandias: Look on my Works”) all center around Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem, “Ozymandias.” In short, Ozymandias, or Ramses II, was an Egyptian Pharaoh. Ozymandias commissioned a sculptor to erect a statue in his honor which has since been toppled over and ravaged by time. There in the desert lies Ozymandias’ statue - a beautiful depiction of mankind’s depravity. My three pieces (the essay and two poems) are annotated guides that approach Shelley’s poem from new angles and refract back new truths about creation. My poems observe the same poetic structure as Shelley’s original poem. The essay explores its deeper meaning. Through my work I hope that you might gain new insight about many different creations: 1) the statue which is Ozymandias’ idolatrous creation, 2) Shelley’s poem which in itself is a creation, and 3) mankind which is God’s ultimate creation.

Ozymandias: Look on my Works
Jack Slinkman
Image for the story Ozymandias: Look on my Works
Flora Ozymandias
Jack Slinkman
Image for the story Flora Ozymandias
Flora Emmanuel
Jack Slinkman
Image for the story Flora Emmanuel