Saturday, 8 November 2008

In which I discover a gift for prophecy


My own reading was on Friday night with Gerry Cambridge and Mimi Khalvati. It seemed to go well. They're good. I have read quite frequently with Mimi and she produced some lovely short poems in memory of Archie Markham. Everything I read was from the 'New' section of the New and Collected.

They included two poems I jokingly described as 'prophetic', in that the events they seem to refer to were a long time in the future at the time I wrote them. Of course they are not really prophetic. I do not have a vatic cloak though I have looked everywhere for one. Can't find one that fits. But, with or without cloak, it seemed to make particular sense reading them now. So let's just pretend they are the real prophetic thing.

I therefore present you with... the banking crisis poem!


Running man blues
for John Mole

when the money ran out, they all ran away
they hit the road running with runs on the board
but the bills they’d run up meant no prospect of play

they ran to breakfast in a seedy café
run on a shoestring they could barely afford
where the money ran out and they all ran away

they were running on empty with the devil to pay
the meter still running on the rusty old Ford
with the bills they’d run up still up on display

they’d run into trouble and ran through the day
with running repairs they would once have ignored
but the cash had run out, they were running away

there were runs on the Bourse and the Bank on the way,
one ran himself through with a samurai sword
the bills he’d run up left him no room to play

running scared, running low, running down, it was they
who had once run the world or had run in and scored
with the bills they’d run up in the games they would play
till the money ran out and they all ran away.


*

My Obama victory poem will follow. Bear with me.


2 comments:

Poet in Residence said...

Prophetic indeed. And guess where some of them have run to. But not to drown their sorrows.
It's a translation from this morning's Austrian mass tabloid the Kronen Zeitung:

New York - 35,000 highly qualified bankers and stockbrokers have lost their jobs on Wall Street. Dozens have enrolled in barkeeper schools to learn how to mix cocktails...

George S said...

Now this, I love. That is indeed crossing the bar.

Just back from Newcastle...