A Time of Crisis

On a thin blue morning
Of the Month of Officials
Came Noh Kale, the income tax collector.
I laid down my roll of Confucius
And said, " Friend,
My treasure is at your disposal;
Let us audit it together —
Thirteen unfinished poems,
A letter from an editor
Saying that a check will be here shortly;
My ivory chopsticks,
And this view, from my tea house,
Of the girls bathing on the other side of the river. "
But still the obstinate agent
Persisted peevishly
And with the reiteration of a primitive mind cried loudly:
" Quarterly instalment still due,
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