Friday, March 19, 2010

TC: 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?

Fireside Chat: TC, from The New World (Libellum)

Crowd at New York's Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression
: photographer unknown, 1931 (U.S. Social Security Administration)
Banking crisis protest, Reykjavik: photo by Jon Eckman, 2008


Curtis Roberts said...

There is so much that is fine and urgent about this that makes you pay attention and want to go back again and again to see what you may have missed in your first reading and to make sure you understand the poem correctly. I do believe that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, in Ray Davies' Moneygoround, and that when you meet the new boss, he's likely to be the same as the old boss. I also believe that although man isn't perfectible, he's improvable and that, as Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others, and while the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings, the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries (except for the animals who are more equal than others). There’s also that quote (whose derivation I can never find) attributed to JFK to the effect that although everybody wants their kid to grow up to be president, no one wants them to grow up to be a politician. The Iceland photo screams out at you.

TC said...


Indeed it does. And in the dazed echo of that scream, a small still voice struggles to say over again these things you have just so eloquently said.

The echoes, indeed, are everywhere.