Wednesday, September 5, 2018

"An Ode to Taxes" by John C. Mannone

An Ode to Taxes
By John C. Mannone
          With apologies to John Keats

"Payment" Ink & Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
How beautiful you are
under the feet of your
messengers or even mine.
I swoon at your delicate
words of clarity, truly
spoken as a bureaucrat
in love with itself. Your
math, admirable as your
mouth, as simple English.
Your style of arithmetic,
so self-serving. I love
your round-offs OXOXO.
Your forms are perfect,
simple & heartburn-free.
I stand up and salute you
for keeping the tax
beyond the war effort,
actually we need war
to keep you justified.
So go ahead, take
my money, my life,
I’ll sacrifice all of it
for you, you—that
Yankee-doodle-dandy
of an Uncle Sam.
You have a following:
State, County, Local
tax crazies, even the
Temples urge a tax
(they call a tithe) to do
what you had promised
about the poor, the kids,
the widowed (I know,
you don’t like churches
and synagogues, tough.)
I’ll sing you a love song
you, an elegy for your
probate—for the funeral
and inheritance taxes.
Simply put my ashes
in a hundred-dollar
cobalt blue Grecian urn.

Poet’s Notes:  There is always an opportunity to write something. We can “praise” things, even those that we do not like. Pablo Neruda wrote many of them, one every day at some point in his life. And though the federal tax season is over for most, some are still haunted by taxes often throughout the year, and most certainly daily for some things, like sales tax.  The long verse was to give a sense of relentless exasperation.

Editor’s Note:  IRS agents, liberals, and other statists will take this poem literally and not tax what passes for their brains too much. The rest of us will choke on the satire quite Swiftly.  Either way, I invite you to enjoy this classic by The Kinks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul3aH-WZkLE and this one by Keats https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44477/ode-on-a-grecian-urn.

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