Friday, December 9, 2011

Poetry Friday: Commentary on the present from the past

I'm feeling Ogden Nash-ish this morning:


I find it very difficult to enthuse
Over the current news.
Just when you think that at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no blacker, it worsens,
And that is why I do not like the news,
because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.

This next poem was published in the Saturday Evening Post, in 1935. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose:


This is a song to celebrate banks,
Because they are full of money and you go into them and all you hear is clinks and clanks,
Or maybe a sound like the wind in the trees on the hills,
Which is the rustling of the thousand dollar bills.

Most bankers dwell in marble halls,
Which they get to dwell in because they encourage deposits and discourage withdrawals,
And particularly because they all observe one rule which woe betides the banker who fails to heed it,
Which is you must never lend any money to anybody unless they don't need it.

I know you, you cautious conservative banks!
If people are worried about their rent it is your duty to deny
them the loan of one nickel, yes, even one copper engraving
of the martyred son of the late Nancy Hanks;

Yes, if they request fifty dollars to pay for a baby you must look at them like Tarzan looking at an uppity ape in the jungle,
And tell them what do they think a bank is, anyhow, they had better go get the money from their wife's aunt or ungle.

But suppose people come in and they have a million and they want another million to pile on top of it,
Why, you brim with the milk of human kindness and you urge them to accept every drop of it,
And you lend them the million so then they have two million and this gives them the idea that they would be better off with four,
So they already have two million as security so you have no hesitation in lending them two more,
And all the vice-presidents nod their heads in rhythm,
And the only question asked is do the borrowers want the
money sent or do they want to take it withm.

Because I think they deserve our appreciation and thanks,
the jackasses who go around saying that health and happiness are everything and money isn't essential,
Because as soon as they have to borrow some unimportant money to maintain their health and happiness they starve to death so they can't go around any more sneering at good old money, which is nothing short of providential.

 Poetry Friday is being hosted this week by Robyn Hood at Read, Write, Howl.


Tabatha said...

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" -- Oui!

Thanks for bringing us these today.

Mur said...


maria horvath said...

It's interesting how good poets can be such observant reporters.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks, Sally - timely poems, eh?

Linda B said...

'And that Is why I do not like the news' - just what I said last night. Oh, but it wasn't me, it was my aunt, or no, it was my son-in-law, or perhaps it was Ogden Nash! Wonderful, & thank you for giving a bit of perspective.