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A poem: O Euro! My Euro!

With apologies to Walt Whitman, the Wall Street Poet considers the euro in verse, circa 2002 and the present day.

Ten years ago, Marketplace asked the Wall Street Poet, Michael Silverstein, to record his poem, "Oh Euro, My Euro" days after the euro's debut (you can listen above).

Oh Euro, My Euro (circa 2002)

Oh euro, my euro, your time has finally come,
You’ve withstood all your critics' flack, their doubting scoffs are done;
The francs a ghost, ths liras toast, the deutschmarks just a mem’ry,
Around the globe, thy name is hailed, in circles monetary.
But surprise prized prize, though you’ve firmed a bit of late
As long as dollars stay so strong, my doubts just won’t abate.
 
Oh euro, my euro, rise up and take thy place
Rise up. For you the guilders gone, for you pesetas fled
With you baguettes and schnitzels bought, with you paellas ordered,
No nation angst, no exchange rates, a Europe without borders.
Good euro, hope bringer
They promised you'd be sound.
So how come after all these months, the British keep their pound?
 
The euro keeps on flipping, it cannot find its legs,
This money bounces up and down, it breaks through all the pegs;
The EU is a big success, it’s quite the worldly hub
In eastern lands they all aspire to join this happy club.
Exalt you francs and boast Tutons, but I am far from sold.
Until the euro proves its worth, dollars I will hold.

Ten years on, while the eurozone should be showering the euro with anniversary gifts of tin, instead there's talk of its demise and a full-blown debt crisis. The Wall Street Poet said his poem was easy to update, because he was dubious from the start.

Oh Euro, My Euro (circa 2011)

Oh euro, my euro, ’twas said your time had come,
You’d withstood all the early flack, your doubters seemed undone;
With francs a ghost, with liras toast, and deutschmarks just a mem’ry,
Around the globe, your worth was sold, in circles monetary.
But now, alas, that time has past,
A new day has arrived,
With traders asking could it be
The euro won’t survive?
 
Oh euro, once mighty, the money pack outpaced,
You made Dutch guilders disappear, pesetas you replaced;
With you baguettes were freely bought, with you paella ordered,
‘Twas heralded no exchange rates, a Europe without borders.
Good euro, hope bringer
Have you become unsound?
You’re even trading lower now
Than the beat up British pound!
 
The euro keeps on falling, it cannot find its legs,
Its strength has got so faded that it breaks through all the pegs;
The thinking here is changing fast,
As the richer lands gets rolled,
Could this have been a pretty dream,
One greatly oversold?

Today, the Wall Street Poet has turned his attention away from economics to politics and is working on a new book, "This God-Awful Political Season (In Verse)" because, he says, there is no longer any difference between the two.

Tune into tomorrow's Marketplace Morning Report for David Brancaccio's story on the euro.

About the author

Amanda Aronczyk is a public radio reporter and producer.

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