Another Bubble Burst

I'm no economist, but I do know a thing or two about history. What we are going through as a nation, and even as a global community is neither uncommon, nor even unexpected. We knew the cycle of growth and decline would do what they do. But what is always new and unique is the ways in which we might respond to other in these difficult times, challenging our values and beliefs.

An acquaintance of mine is a lay scholar of folk traditions. This man is a genius. He went from being a rocket scientist in a super-secret government project. Somewhere along the way, he had a conversion that led from those projects to wandering the back roads of Idaho. Listening to him sing in Christmas eve services with his daughter, it would seem that folk music is a deep-seated family tradition.

This past week, my acquaintance emailed the following story and poem. An interesting perspective on the history of this poet's context is that he is an Idaho poet prospector, writing around 1900. I'm not sure if this poet was a silver miner, but at the time of his writing poem the silver market had expanded like the contemporary housing bubble. The economics of the marketplace are intricate and interconnected. In the 1890's too many railroads had been built. More than could be paid for, and more than could be used. I guess silver had something to do with the backing up the securities that financed the railroads. When the railroads failed, so the silver market crashed.


Lest we think there is something unique about the hard times in the present, see the poem below that will be in the book/CD I am working on about the poems, songs and life of Idaho's Poet Prospector Clarence E. Eddy (1876-1936).
There isn't much truly new in any generation, and hard times are not one of them. And the spiritual and moral imperative for individual response and behavior hasn't changed either.

A Crown of Thorns
This plaintive composition was published in "Pinnacles of Parnassus." The poem deals with deep spiritual and humanitarian aspects of the impact of the poor economic conditions of the mid and late 1890's. The Poet Prospector included the following note with his poem:

"Written upon report of the press dispatches, in December, 1898, that hundreds of poor were dying of cold and starvation in New York City."
A Crown of Thorns
Today, in all the world my faith is dim;
Earth seems indeed a weary vale of tears;
All brokenly my heart goes back to Him,
The Weeping One, within the far-oof years.
Thou hadst not where on earth to lay Thy head,
Oh, pure and loving, Meek and Lowly One.
A crown of thorns and cruel cross instead
Were thine, oh Maiden Mary's Mystic Son.

I think of Thee beside the lonely sea,
Thy sweet, sad face suffused with silent tears,
Oh, man of Nazareth and Galilee,
Now gone from earth almost two thousand years.
Today with aching heart and streaming eyes
The trodden poor in heaven raise and prayer -
"How long! Oh, Lord, how long!" ascend their cries,
Mid pain ad hunger's helpless wild despair.

Ye say, "Ah, well, such things as this must be,

There must be some to suffer and to toil.
What matters it to us, so long as we
Are the favored ones who real the spoil?"
This is the sluggard's and the coward's view,
The cause of all the wrongs that curse the race.

Oh, for a day if man to man were true,
That day alone would every wrong efface.
With serving Mammon we have gone astray.
Our inmost souls with sordidness are blind.
We cannot see "the angel in the way."

We live for self and not for all mankind.
The age is drunk and blind with lust for gold,
And deaf and dumb to dying virtue's cries.
Yes, honor, friendship, even love is sold
And honesty is made a sacrifice.

Is this, oh men, the way His words you keep?
He warned you evermore to watch and pray,
Lest, i the spirit, you should fall asleep
And wander in temptation's downward way.
We sorely need within the world today
Some Godlike soul - grand, solemn, tender, true -
One that no worldly lust can lead astray -
A mighty work there is on earth to do.

We need a voice sublime and thunder-toned,
To speak the truth till all shall understand.
Till frauds and shams and falsehoods now enthroned
Be banished evermore from every land.
Awake, oh men, awaken from your sleep.
Cast sordid selfishness and lust away.
Oh then, but not till then, shall dawn the deep
And pure, sweet light of perfect freedom's day.

Sketch credit: Pinnacles of Parnassus:

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