I’ve tried writing this post several times over. In the end, it was these words that kept speaking to me:
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”.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
Today, a former political leader of our nation died. Throughout the day my Twitter and Facebook streams have been filled with a variety of comments. There have been some mourning her loss, some reminding people of what, in their view (and mine too, generally), were the errors of her politics, and some celebrating her death.
I’ve already commented on Twitter and on Facebook. I therefore post the above poem with two final thoughts for today:
1. If you disagree with what Thatcher stood for, as I did and do, then remember this: the statue of her policies and ideologies still stands prominently in local, national and global politics. If you want to celebrate then act now, and work until that way of thinking is the political equivalent of two legs standing in the desert. Until then, you have no reason to celebrate. And in the meantime let those who genuinely mourn her passing grieve in peace, for that is what you would surely want when you pass the same way, as you surely will.
2. The only thing I’ve ever celebrated in relation to Margaret Thatcher was her resignation, and that remains the case today. Death and decay come to us all. It does us no good to gloat over the passing of another human being, they have only gone the same way as we will go, and only God gets to judge us when we do.