Death and Taxes
Based on a news story about an accountant who died at his desk, unnoticed for days.
The poem is a parody of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ sonnet Patience
Taxes, sure thing! the hard thing but to pay,
Fork over: Taxes wrest! Who dare ask why?
For war, for wounds; so stealthy bombers fly,
We do without, go barefoot, and obey.
And death is just as sure, and takes away,
Ever. Unnatural heart’s levy. Our hearts belie
Their future of fate’s doomed stoppage. Here now, cry!—
Purple eyes with seas of liquid tears all day.
But pity most this hapless bean counter: he turns
Bleared eyes and blinks: A heap of tax returns
Bids he do bid. Death takes him as he tots
And there he slumps and no one even learns
his plight for days. They think he merely spurns
them in the name of diligence; instead he rots.