Anatomy of a Catastrophe
“These are barbaric days,” she said,
pointing to the effigies
and criminals in the stockades
whose crimes were but a lack of rent.
“Tight credit is the cause of this,”
I interjected sententiously,
observing all the foreclosures
which turned the commons into sludge.
I shuddered at investments lost.
“I, for one, blame the court
for lavish wars which made a sport
of brinkmanship over rare gems
not worth their weight in guts,”
she said, and not without embarrassment.
“Yes, it’s true, diplomacy
has been misused by bunglers
who curdled treasuries in vain,”
I did rejoin, most ruefully.
“The problem, as I see it,” she continued,
“is this culture of ineptitude,
rewarding hordes of savages
who disrespect propriety.”
“Ah,” I nodded fatalistically,
“here is where I disagree:
the issue of the state’s decline
owes to factors of finance;
morality is petty cash.”
“This is where sexes diverge,”
she added with a mild reproach;
“business aims the industry
of state conquests, I will concede,
but first and foremost, I aver,
psychology directs commerce
and dominance is revenue.
Patrician excess, nonetheless
has made a botch of chancery.”
And so we stood, near pillories
where internees moan for reprieve
as soot enveloped villages
once renowned for piety.
These are dark days, and the malaise
owes to the government the most
we did agree, while neither side of the
debate could quite admit, the evil was