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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Fireside Chat


File:American union bank.gif

You really think free advice is worth money?
An old ghost rising up clammier than ever,
You can hear his teeth rattling. Let’s call
Him Fear Itself, and nestle up closer
To the warm and fatherly radio
Whence issue deep and reassuring words.
At the other end of the transmission
A world of static and black-edged clouds away
You can hear the fire crackling in the hearth
And if you strain your ears you might make out
A distant barking, perhaps the voice of Falla,
Woolly anachronism from a lost epoch.
Dogs speak in unintelligible words. Arf!
I take that back: unintelligible
To us. And we’re not reassured. Crisis
Of confidence time, then: credit default
Occurs when you can’t buy what they’re saying.
But wait, did you ever? Bought situation
City all these years and now someone’s
Surprised? Do crocodiles cry rivers
In order to have someplace to swim? Time for
Regulation arrives at one minute
Before the sun yo-yos up into the sky
And that tinny barking starts up again. Woof!
High time to begin drawing limits to thought.
This may be a fight for life. We may find
Both sides of the limit unthinkable. We may
Have to be able to think what can’t be thought,
Credit crunch or no. Credo means I believe
In crop circles. Or did I mean church
May be the last sanctuary of deceived
Believers in the free market dream?
You’ll find a crescent-shaped scar on my wrist
To prove to you this was no mere nightmare.
I’m in a weakened condition so go easy.
What can I do but hand over the payroll?

Crowd at New York's Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression: photographer unknown, 1931 (U.S. Social Security Administration)


xileinparadise said...

Great poem, Tom. That's the way to tell it.

Do crocodiles cry rivers
In order to have someplace to swim?

Yes, but they're quite shallow.

TC said...


One minute
before the sun yo-yos up into the sky
of the dawn of the dead, and in
the shallows they cruise for us...
sirens in the dark, flashing red lights...
and when they open wide for us
is it time for

The Jaws of Life?