Augustus Young       light verse, poetry and prose
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Count Vittorio Alfieri
Memoirs, 1780

‘Bankers: gentlemen at table,
usurers in the counting house
– besides they take advantage
 of every public calamity.’

Crisis Verse

3. I have the feeling I have lived too long.
Everywhere about me there is something wrong
which has no prospect of being put right
because other people think it’s alright. 

8. Capitalism is the robbery of the people by the people
for the people. Winner takes all. If I was a young man
I’d be out on the street. But I’m worried about my pension
and the exchange rate. And offshore investments. What happpened
to the revolution has happened to me. It has grown old
and tired and corrupt in a petty way. Still I think they’re prats
to put up with what I have. Though I haven’t suffered, yet.   

10. There’s not enough to go round.
But there is enough to square
if you’re in the inner circle.
No need to despair.
Just keep your feet on the ground,
and pick up what any jerk will.  

13. I was never good at exams.
My approach was to miss classes,
and leave the results in God’s hands,
but since everybody passes
the last one, I am confident
of being successful in the end.  

20. Money is the root of all strife
and religion the flower, my mother said.
That is not to say the tree of life
oughtn’t to be surely grounded,
and grow to fruition as nature intended.
But the laws of evil are up-ended.
The flower once at war with the roots
is now withering in deadwood. 

24. The revolution is in the wrong hands.
The weak don’t inherit the earth. The handstands
of acrobats accompanied by brass bands
are all very amusing. Out in the street
you need suicide bombers, and fresh meat,
to get the full attention of the élite. 

26. Killed my new born in the bath
and put her in the deep freeze.
Then put on my Sunday hat
and jumped off the railway bridge.
Funeral private. No flowers please. 

32. Nature is not best pleased
with what it’s made of man.
Says, he’s no better than
a sanctimonious beast.
Man, though, gets its back on
his primordial patron
by quasi-ecological means
(everybody eat up your greens).
And soon both will have ceased
in their struggle to co-exist.   

34. If life is only a matter of time,
clocks merely tell us we are dying.
More life-enhancing, to circumvent
the inevitable appointment
is a sundial, in a gloomy clime.
So you can forget where the time went.

37. Today I’m in a terrible fury
for no good reason. What’s called, being beside
yourself. But tomorrow the cure will be
discovering a cause. Thus justified,
I am restored to the best of humours.
I presume it’s all a matter of pride.
And next day I’m back with the fumers. 
Incontinence of temperament’s a rocky ride.

The Hedge Fund 

‘As you chose your park bench so you must lie on it’,
says the clochard in smoking jacket and gray pants.
He offers me a cigar that’s already lit,
and takes the money. ‘It’s always safe in my hands,
as long as you don’t ask it back.’ Out of the deep
of his sack he fishes out a sealskin ledger,  
and a pen dangling from his mobile, a keep
from a Total seminar. He is on edge, or
rather, not being used to a tight belt, the wriggle
of his potbelly pops a button of his shirt.
I sign along the dotted line, and my squiggle
makes his lips smack. I throw away the pen. The earth
is turning to mud under our feet. When we stand up
our boots are leaking, and the ground begins to suck...