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Rats and The Wall

While browsing through the 1920 edition of the "Granite Monthly", I ran across some poems by Albert Annett, a historian and sometimes poet. One of them, Anarchism (http://theotherpages.org/poems/part2/annett01.html) struck me as dramatic, pointed, and undeniably relevant, nearly 90 years later.

In particular, the last four lines seemed to sum up the current worldwide financial crisis and all of its collateral damage more succinctly than anything I've seen in today's mass media or among all the ranting talking heads of our day:

RATS undermined the wall,
And while men slept
The floods that basined in the hills, smiled at the day,
Crept in by stealth and tore their bounds away:
And onward swept
Where busy towns in tranquil beauty kept
The peace; and with the power of many waters pent
Homes were engulfed and hills in twain were rent.
Steeple and tower
Fell toppling down, and in a breath
When happiness had dwelt, were devastation, woe and death,
And these few words were written of the fall:
While watchman slept
Rats undermined the wall.

Annett's metaphor is a simple and powerful, and could apply to several different worries of our day or of his. Annett wrote in a post-war era where physical acts of anarchism (terrorism in today's lexicon) were widely reported in the papers, and where the rich and powerful of Europe and America looked on the recent Russian Revolution with fear and apprehension. I haven't read enough by Annett to know his 'politics' well enough to infer which 'flood' Annett intended as the primary target for his metaphor. There were waves of immigration, of socialist and communist politics, loosening of moral stigmas as the U.S. moved from the war era into the 'Roaring 20's", and of course the same kinds of corruption and profiteering that come to light in every era.

Who knows? Annett may have simply been a baeball fan upset about the 'Black Sox' scandal.

Regardless of Annett's target, the poem is still highly charged and highly effective in our day. Feel free to forward this to the local bank regulator, sports commissioner, or government watchdog agency of your choice.....

--Steve


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