This challenge was What is your favorite poem, and why?
Can you believe, despite being in AP English from about 8th grade on, I didn't learn to love poetry until I was in college? Prior to that, the only poem I remember studying was T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland, which my junior year AP English teacher absolutely loved and made us interpret the hell out of, line by line. I adored my teacher, but she couldn't make me love poetry.
Ozymandias was the first poem I "got" all on my own. It was like a light went on in my head. I loved it so much I memorized it, the first (and so far only) poem I'd ever memorized. I loved the imagery, the build-up, and the final comment on mankind's hubris. Frankly, I loved the big words like visage and colossal, I loved phrases like antique land. I loved that it made me realize we need to live in the now, and not try to build monuments to ourselves that we foolishly believe will live forever:
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 shatter'd visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd 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
I learned to love poetry in teacher's college. I studied to be a secondary school English teacher, of all things, so I had to at least pretend to be interested in poetry. The book that did it for me was Sound and Sense. I still have a copy somewhere. It broke down poetry into layman's terms. Despite being so "advanced" all those years, I needed something simple to explain poetry to me, to make me love it. To turn the light on.