The apparent suicide of Mark Madoff, son of Bernie Madoff, on the 2nd anniversary of his father’s arrest put me in mind of a poem I wrote about the financial crisis and the rising number of suicides among high-fliers.

At the time, there were reports that a growing number of individuals who “had it all” and lived extravagantly but couldn’t handle it when their house of cards fell.

The second line is a reference to W.B. Yeats’ poem, “The Scholars,” and there is an intentional pun in the first stanza, which was first noticed by my pal, Joe Donohue, who read an early version of the poem, and which wasn’t as poignant at the time.

Here is my poem,

Collap$e, or The Financial Suicides

Damned and damning are the fools,

Their bald heads forgetful of sins.

Believing greed and graft are virtues,

They made all the rules,

Spent lavishly on short-term views,

And made-off with the most wins.

Masters of the Universe,

They excel at immoderation, going all-out,

But never mastered failure or humility.

Faced with losing everything or worse –

Riches and status – they take the tidy,

Albeit cowardly way out.

In the end, they come to find out

Everything that man builds or begins

Endures only for a moment.

Their legacies, without a doubt,

Are consumed in the fires they foment

With their lies, deceit, and sins.

–Scott Edward Anderson

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