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The markets are jittery

by James Graham 

Posted: 08 October 2008
Word Count: 50
Summary: I wondered if it was possible to write a poem about the global financial crisis. This was all I could manage.

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The markets are jittery

What is it
that brings such fear
into the eyes of tigers?

Like wary gazelles,
all nerves, their heads
come up. They
sniff the air.

They leap away
from a rustle, a shadow.

What turns
that fanatic eye
into the mild melting
eye of the hunted?

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Comments by other Members

V`yonne at 22:26 on 08 October 2008  Report this post
I saw someone on telly the other day drawing parallels between the animals at risk of extinction and the global downturn. I like the way you turned that around so that the faninciers are the hunted - prey of the markets.

And that's all he could manage, he says!

joanie at 23:28 on 08 October 2008  Report this post
Well done, James! I'm so glad that you've taken it on. I love this; it's an excellent response to the present situation, especially as we've been watching the live webcams of the Masai Mara recently! Brilliant.



The opening and closing questions are effective.

mafunyane at 00:07 on 09 October 2008  Report this post
Love the animal analogy!

(and also 'the mild melting eye' - lovely)

Tina at 21:24 on 09 October 2008  Report this post
Hi James

Interesting slant on the current farrago surrounding the slightly important issue of whether of not our money is safe in the bank!!!! Someone needs to write something 'lighter' and more positive than the daily round we are currently getting. SO well done for getting your safari suit on!

I really like the idea and it works for you in terms of animal tension, waryness/ hunter / hunted.

I wonder about the title and whether or not you need something animal in the title or something more 'stock market' in the poem??

just a thought

James Graham at 19:48 on 10 October 2008  Report this post
Thanks all. Oonah, your two pieces, especially the sci-fi one (??) are strong stuff - the right strength for dealing with this sort of theme.

Tina, I thought about linking title and poem a bit more directly, but...I think I just wanted the title to be a key to the conundrum of the poem. Maybe instead of a title there should have been a quiz question: 'This poem is a cryptic comment on something very much in the news. What do you think it's about? The answer is upside down at the foot of the page.' The title is the solution to the cryptic clue. In which case maybe it should be moved to the end and become the last line. No, I'll leave it as a title...it does what a title should do, I suppose - say what the poem's about, that it's not about tigers at all but those dangerous sub-prime mortgage lenders and short sellers.


James Graham at 11:34 on 11 October 2008  Report this post
I just scribbled this five minutes ago. Another small contribution to solving the financial crisis.

The Market Place

In the old market place
there was much good ale

and ballad-singers, penny-whistlers and fiddlers

and neighbours and strangers
would burst into dancing.

In the new market place
they still play their fiddles.


V`yonne at 11:51 on 11 October 2008  Report this post
A flash poem, James Good one!

Florence at 11:44 on 14 October 2008  Report this post
Hi James,

This reminded me of the images you see in nature docs of meercats (sp?) sitting on their haunches, poking their heads up and looking anxiously around - so similar to the pictures we've been seeing on the front of newspapers of traders, heads up all in the same direction anxiously checking the boards.


ellynelly at 12:10 on 22 October 2008  Report this post
Dear James,

I'm late. Just read your poem today. It's great.

I love the analogy. I like how you use the break between verses 1 & 2 to help make the startling simile between tiger and gazelles.

I like how you start with a question and end with a question.

And thanks for your comments on titles.


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