The Impossible Deathbed Lament of Scrooge McDuck

Life?
Is like a hurricane?
Spend long enough?
In its cosy eye?
And soon?
You come to think the whole world?
Turns round you

Behind Killmotor Hill?
The sunrise is fresh minted sovereigns?
But the last son of Clan McDuck?
Lies gasping for water in a golden bed?
His grasping fist recalls young Donald, that
?Apoplectic Hornblower?
Who taught him the politics of rage?
Age has Ebenezered his vigor?
In its counting house of days

As a youngster, Scrooge rose early?
Even then, he carried himself?
With a certain avuncular aplomb?
His gimp leg gifting him a tick-tocking surliness?
His shinebox?
Like an unexploded bomb

Lately, he cannot parse fact nuggets?
From fool’s gold fables?
He views his past?
Through an astigmatic haze?
A blurry tartan of?
Fourth quarter forecasts?
Tax havens, FTSE broadcasts?
The jangling slang of ancient registers?
Diamond money pins stabbed through?
Bill folds like pioneers’ flags?
Some pharaoh’s curse, a?
Flash of bandaged paw,?
This shapeshifting necromancer in Borneo?
And the unholy rumble of Niagara?
As he dangles?
By his cane?
From a frayed rope ladder

These days?
He can no longer sort?
The stupid angles of his brain?
Nor even tame his bladder

But still?
Clearest of all?
He recalls?
Impossible?
Gem-sharp dreams?
Where he swims through a gleaming cash lake?
In a two towers tall
Futurist cinderblock
Chock full of heaped tender?
A bright Mammonite cathedral

He can taste the aroma of Rands, Francs and Kroner,?
Heft each swan dive like a Faberge egg?
Let the sure weight transport him to way back when?
A butterfly stroke through a bluff of doubloons could?
Cause an imbalance in the Yen

He has drowned his best years in that corpulent silo?
Midased his own heart?
Then set it to cool behind bulletproof glass?
And a laser-web?
There was always one more dime to covet?
It was never money?
It was the love of it

Now that lucent organ burns in the furnace of his chest?
A lone piper gurning?
Forcing a requiem down silted arteries:?
Here’s the tree that never grew?
Here’s the duck that never flew?
Oblivion unhinges its dull, dull maw

For?
Some mysteries are best left unsolved?
Uncle Scrooge,?
You cannot rewrite history.?
There’s no recasting Custer’s busted pride?
No tugging the bayonet?
From Crazy Horse’s splendid back?
And sewing shut the split?
How many Bible black afternoons have you squandered?
Staring into an open fridge?
Wishing it was a time machine?

Step away from the collection plate, old man!?
You can’t buy back your misspent youth?
This is simple needle’s eye economics?
Soon those bold grandnephews?’ll be straddling your cold carcass?
Levering each gold tooth?
From the final vault of your lockjaw rictus.?
Ever the coin-biting pessimist?
You missed the long con?
This limited flesh was the true wooden nickel?
Its obverse engraved by the reaper’s grim sickle??
Caches to ashes?
Boom to dust?
In the golden calf?
We antitrust

This is the big crash, McDuck,?
The culling of the sacred cash cow?
The Money Bin going molten?
Billions in bullion?
An ocean of faces, dates and franked slogans?
Converging in meltdown?
The merger?
To end all mergers?
It’s 1929 all over?
Taking you so far into the black?
You can’t breathe??
And your heart trots out?
Its last bland iambs?
De dum ?de dum ?de dum ?de dum – ?end stop

O there’s no asset-stripper?
So doughty as Time?
But friends,?
We know the freedom of liquidity?
For the wages of sin is death an a’ that,?
But a wage, well, that means dignity.

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