The Cremation of 2013

* With sincere apologies to Mr. Robert Service

There were strange things done by fluorescent sun

By the Federal Reserve of old

From Treasury pops to secret swaps

That would make your blood run cold

The Wall Street nights have seen strange sights

But the strangest ever, I’m told

Was that year, oh so mean, known as twenty thirteen

When they crushed the price of gold.


Now their program of easing had started a’wheezing

It was growing stale and weak

And they needed QE to infinity since

The economy was bleak

But they knew without doubt if they started to shout

“We’re full-on monetizing!”

They’d see interest explode and the US debt load

Would foil all their devising.


But the chairman stayed cool, he was nobody’s fool

So he didn’t shout or holler

He knew that if he could make gold sell-off

It would hide the foundering dollar

So he issued his orders to sell across borders

And the bullion banks complied

And they sold. And they sold. Paper mountains of gold

And the market recoiled at the tide.


But at some point that paper, despite rumors of taper,

Was a promise to deliver the metal

And the Chinese could see opportunity

And they bought those contracts to settle

Yes, the lower it got the more strongly they bought

For to ship it to the Swiss

To be quietly cast into kilogram bars

Before people noticed something amiss.


Meanwhile, as price was jolting down,

The banks called up the Fed.

“She canna’ take much more of this, Chairman!

When our gold is gone, we’re dead!”

The Chairman, nonplussed, assured “What’s the fuss?

You can raid the GLD.

Plus we’ll sell from OUR vault to avoid a default

But to manage perception is key!”


The banks weren’t assured. They proclaimed “That’s absurd!

Folks will know all those tons came from you!”

But the Chairman’s reply, with a wink of his eye,

Would mollify all but a few:

“We’ve the press on our side, and not to be snide,

But they’ll write whatever we tell them.

Just peddle some tale about the end of the bull

And if people have metals, to sell them.”


So gold and silver sold off, and the analysts scoffed:

Falling prices prove dying demand.

But all the while certain buyers just smiled

And that metal was bought with both hands.


At the end of the year Fed success was clear

With the metals near multi-year lows

And there were no audits, and the Chairman got plaudits

For his “brilliant” tapering pose.

As prepared to retire, the Chairman

Was feted and praised for stock’s gains

And the bankers got paid, politicians got laid,

Life was good in the land of Keynes.


But something was brewing, far over the seas

Dark rumors of debts to be paid

Of currency changes and metals exchanges

And the gold-backed settling of trade

Of six thousand tons imported to China

Or is ten a bit closer-on?

With some privately thinking “The dollar is stinking,

I wonder how it stacks with the Yuan?”


T’was the final day of the Chairman’s reign

His great retirement bash

And every financial tycoon would be there

To toast him (and his free cash)

But the Chairman just couldn’t shake the feeling

Of something weighing on his mind

So impetuously, he’d chosen, before it was frozen

To use his clearance one last time.


He phoned, scratched his beard, then the copter appeared

And whisked him to the gates

He showed his ID for the guards to see

And they shuttled him past the grates.

“Wait here” he said to the watchman inside

“I’d rather go on alone”

And he stepped cautiously, while he fished for the key,

‘Cross the slate-gray quarried stone

And with naught but a lantern, he swung wide the door

And the stale air blew past his face

And he willed his hand to raise the light

For to gaze on his private disgrace.


The vault was old. It was empty and cold

As bleak as the march of Sherman’s.

There were just a measly 200 tons left

And he owed that to the Germans.

The chairman shivered. It had all been delivered

To settle accounts and the score

And he searched in the quiet and could not deny it

The once great hoard was no more.


And to his surprise, he felt starting to rise

A sense of deep dread like a squall

And he thought, in confusion, “Wasn’t this Keynes conclusion?

That this shouldn’t matter at all?”

In the darkness he shouted at his partners in crime

“What of you, Mr. Greenspan? Or Burns?

What of you, Chairman Eccles? Or you, Chairman Miller?

At dis-hoarding, we ALL took our turns!”

But his voice merely echoed through the cavernous vaults

And it sounded a lot like a tomb.

Then the Chairman did see what his legacy would be…

And he quietly left the room.


There were strange things done by fluorescent sun

By the Federal Reserve of old

From Treasury pops to secret swaps

That would make your blood run cold

The Wall Street nights have seen strange sights

But the strangest ever, I’m told

Was that year, oh so mean, known as twenty thirteen

When the last of the wealth was sold.

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