Poetry of Kansas

The Assessor

The busy assessor is out on his beat
    And craves your attention awhile,
So when he approaches you, try to keep sweet
    And answer his questions and smile.
He wants to find out what your property's worth
    And how much you have in the bank;
The month and the day and the year of your birth;
    And what is your station and rank;
How many dill pickles you planted last year;
    The number of hen eggs you get;
What you do when the weather is pleasant and clear,
    And when it is soggy and wet.
He counts all the dogs and the children in sight
    And asks if you have any more.
Does you wife raise a row when you stay out at night?
    Have you ever been married before?
A book and a pencil and paper he brings,
        With questions conned over by rote
And asks you a million and forty-four things
    About like the samples I quote.
So try to be truthful, though others have lied,
    And if you don't know, make a guess.
There's no use in trying your secrets to hide
    From the man who comes round to assess.

Verdigris Valley Verse
Albert Stroud
(Coffeyville, Kansas: The Journal Press. 1917)
Page 113

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April 29, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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