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Be that as it may. The sense of deja-vu as our contemporary imperial state reels is very much in my mind. One can only hope that the outcomes of the future are better than what befell Rome. The heroic Bernanke is trying. One must wish him well. In my “depressed" state, contemplating the prospect of a great “depression", I decided that a poetic response was the best one. So here is a poem. I hope you like it.

“2008: The Decline and Fall of Financial Capitalism"

As derivatives implode

As esoterics turn morbid

What do I do

in moments

when I am not taking delight

at the prospects of

genteel poverty

maudlin cringing

of pimpled bankers

now turning into

dying gladiators

of a new Rome

in molten decay.

My grandfather first read

Gibbon

in 1908.

In 1958

He said to me:

“Read Gibbon for his prose

But don’t get depressed..."

In 2008

I now read Gibbon

to live with the ungilded

depression

of the age.

Stately prose may be

the remnant failing therapy

for bankerly malignancy

eating into

all of us

repressed readers

depressed lovers

of Gibbon

Jaithirth Rao, a former banker and technology entrepreneur, divides his time between Mumbai, Lonavla and Bangalore. Send your views on this column at conservativecorner@livemint.com

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