Ta Prohm temple, constructed in the 12th century, is part of the Angkor Wat complex, the largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you see just a small part of this incredible temple with its damaged stone facades and pillars, most embellished with a profusion of intricate carvings. This surreal icon of human artistry, now overgrown with cotton-silk and strangler fig trees, was a location for the 2018 action film, Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander.
Such images serve as compelling reminders of mankind’s creativity—and vulnerability. They’re alarming testaments—particularly in our era of narcissism, greed, and environmental degradation—to the follies of human vanity and self-delusion. After all, is there any question that, in the long run, it is Nature, not us, that will prevail?
We recall those final lines from Shelley’s timeless poem about human frailty, Ozymandius: “My name is Ozymandius, King of kings; look on my Works, ye Might and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone sands stretch far away.”
And those words about life’s fragility from Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5): “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace to the last syllable of recorded time…life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
We’d welcome any verses you’re willing to share…