Economy goes from bad to verse

Try writing a haiku to express your frustration over the economy

It’s enough to make you want to ... compose haiku.

The good folks at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in New York are here to help. They’ve created, an online gathering spot for people who want to take a stab at the ancient Japanese form of poetry to comment on our current financial predicament.

To date, more than 350 people have expressed their views in haiku form, three brief lines totaling 17 syllables — five syllables, seven syllables and five syllables, respectively.

Consider Michael P. of Atlanta’s entry:

Money may be green

But Treasury’s books are red

US’ll soon be dead

Another Atlantan, Melba S., weighed in with this:

seriously, reps?

you really think that healthcare

doesn’t need some help?

The site was launched earlier this month as a way “to constructively express the multitude of frustrations of the American public,” foundation spokeswoman Myra Sung said.

“We’re a foundation based primarily on the notion our financial situation with the government is hitting a crisis point, [so] we understand these are very serious issues and we devote a lot of time and resources to it. But we also recognized people are frustrated and they want to voice their opinions in a variety of ways.”

The foundation was launched in July 2008 by Peter G. Peterson, co-founder of the private equity firm Blackstone Group. Peterson, who has since retired from Blackstone, has pledged $1 billion to raise awareness about the country’s fiscal problems.

His foundation distributes grants and works with a variety of educational groups, Sung said. At the same time, she said, “we’re striving to find interesting and out-of-the-box ways to engage people.”

By the way, the foundation has kindly tallied up your personal portion of the country’s $56.4 trillion debt. It’s $184,000 and counting. That should get your poetic juices flowing.  Here’s our attempt:

Hard times spawn a site

Where financial pain is shared.

It’s “Fiscal Haiku.”

Inspired? We’d like to see your fiscal haikus. E-mail your poem (suitable for publication in a family newspaper) along with your name, town and a daytime phone number to We hope to publish the best in an upcoming Sunday business edition.

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