Saturday, September 20, 2008

Weekend Special: Financial Poetry by Popular Demand

By request of a reader, a re-working of A.E. Houseman:

To a Trader Retiring Young

The year you made forty percent,
Investors thought you heaven-sent.
By leaps and bounds your assets grew,
To fifteen yards from under two.

Today, your trading floor is dim,
Stripped of furniture and trim.
No more, the telephone’s shrill cry
Or buying low and selling high.

Smart lad, to turn the other cheek
And hide as regulators seek,
A culprit for the tempest’s wind
And those that profited and sinned

By selling as the tide went out,
Revealing who was left with nowt.
No more, your selling of the banks
Neither the Brits’, nor else the Yanks’:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of long investors getting out.
The emperor’s new clothes can stand
Unmolested by your hand.

So fly to islands, seas, and sands
Knowing your track record stands,
A monument to bygone days
Before the market changed its ways.

And in some future market craze
We’ll shake our heads, recall the days
When shorting Icarus was done
By you, just ere he reached the sun.


Rosabarba said...

Team 1250's persistence is a sight to behold.

Anonymous said...

PPT's exertions must surely surface somewhere. If a deflationary death-spiral is eventually averted, can the long end of the treasury curve remain at rates below 4.5%?

SheetWise said...

"You put your bet on number one and it comes up every time.
The other kids have all backed down and they put you first in line.
And so you finally ask yourself just how big you are --
and take your place in a wiser world of bigger motor cars.
And you wonder who to call on."

Jethro Tull -- Thick as a Brick

dblwyo said...

Marvelous transcription and transformation. Hats off to the English educational system.

dblwyo said...

In case anybody's actually interested in surveying the events, the history and the wishful and self-serving decisions made for us and by us that led to this mess you might want to take a gander at these two posts:
The Frannie Twins and You: Wall St., the Crisis and the Mess We Made
Back to Stalingrad: Containing the Contagion, Moving Forward ?

The dangers here are that by blame-waving at the conspiracies we are in fact going to repeat the problems that got us into the mess in the first place.
Or you can keep on believing there's simple answers for simple problems and we bear no responsibilities for any of this and neither do all the folks who had guns held to their heads to force them to make a chain of bad decision after bad decision.

Anonymous said...

Tremendous gift of the lyric, Macro. Now that we have all been saved, no more urgency in turning our hobbies into downsized livelihoods. Trading ahoy.

Macro Man said...

Dblwyo, while I am glad you liked my little ditty, I'm afraid I have some bad news: my education, such as it exists, is a product of the American system. I first encountered Houseman in high school (a state school in the South, no less!)

Steve said...

So, Team 1250 critics, what happens to the S&P now? Because the plan does nothing to address capital adequacy, I say down, but I'm talking my book.

dblwyo said...

Hoist by my own presumptions...darn.

Alright a tribute to the US Southern schools that were...and the darn few that were like 'em, wherever they may be.

Somewhere faintly in the distance I sense another ditty opportunity having to do with old war ballads,...the tall ones, the short ones, know the rest :)
running thru my head even as you write.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post, MM. A fitting capstone to a week like no other. Who will believe us years hence when we tell the tales of Sept 08 when the markets were on the brink? They will think that we embroider the past to make a better tale to tell.

ButwhatdoIknow? said...

While we're on Houseman. . .

These, in the hours when Heaven was falling
The days when Earth's foundations fled
Followed their mercenary calling
Took the money and now are fed.

Their shoulders held 1250 suspended
They stood, and their puts written stay.
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A lot of pay. . . . .

Anonymous said...

brilliant taste of financial poetry MM.. brilliant!!!


Daniel said...