Look on my coffee bar ye mighty and despair
I have just been down to Duvale Priory in Devon for a couple of days where I stumbled across this weird monument – the Devonian Sphinx.
We are so used to seeing the ol’ Sphinx in a state of ancient ruin, that it comes as a shock to see this new one, lying there with no word of explanation or attribution. From the side it appears to have a horn on its head, but this becomes a crown as you move to view it from the front. The Devonian sphinx appears like a Queen, or an Empress, in ornamental gear. Is this how the Egyptian sphinx originally looked?
Half cat, half woman, the sphinx has always been the ultimate evocation of mysterious ancient gods, and also a symbol of their decline and defeat at the hands of time. How weird to be reminded that the sphinx was once a sign of all that is powerful, beautiful and dangerous.
Another startling cat-related image also exists nearby (see below).
No doubt this beast is still terrorising the countryside.
Ah, the fall of great things to the march of time! The implacable forces of change! I was shocked to see my second favourite coffee bar in Cambridge has closed. The Cambridge Coffee Company – I always love the cheek of these small businesses that assume large names – has shut up shop. I had my camera on me, and took a few shots…
Particlarly poignant is the broom. I can imagine the owner, his once smiling face now offstage and thoughtul, as he leant his broom for the final time against the counter, not even bothering to put it away or take it with him after his final, diligent sweep-round.
Also eloquent are the envelopes piled up at the door – sad to think that each and every one of those pieces of junk mail lying there was probably intended to try and squeeze some money out of the Cambridge Coffee Company.
“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.