Is Payson Ready For A Poet Laureate?



The sun came up over Payson that Friday -- as it is wont to do.

But it seemed a bit brighter against a sky that had never been so blue.

For the council on Thursday had made a decision that corrected a grievous wrong,

And with the speed limit 40 on Tyler Parkway, the angels rejoiced in song.

At long last, justice has prevailed. With nary a whimper from the residents of the Tyler Parkway area, the Payson Town Council recently sat tall in the saddle and voted to raise the speed limit on the world's slowest parkway from 25 to 40 miles per hour.

All except Bryan Siverson, that is, who cast the lone dissenting vote -- a dastardly deed that we hereby immortalize in verse:

Siverson, Siverson he's our man,

If he can't do it, his successor can.

Just kidding Bryan, but I hope this emphasizes the next great action this mighty council needs to take. It needs to name me Official Poet Laureate for the town of Payson.

Poet laureates were originally chosen by pompous monarchies to glorify the deeds of a government in verse. Great Britain, for example, has long had a poet laureate.

Then awhile ago, the United States got into the poet laureate business.

Our motive was a bit more altruistic -- to give the arts a much needed boost.

Of course when poets don't take the position the government likes on subjects like, oh, say, the war in Iraq, the president's wife simply bans them from reading their stuff.

As precedent for the council naming me Official Poet Laureate, I need only cite the case of one Stan Brown, the town's Official Historian. I think if I just suck up to the council I can achieve his lofty status.

How's this:

Oh mighty, noble council

With vision unimpaired

Decisions wise you make

And you're not even scared ...

Of people like Pat Randall (or ... Of people in the audience)

Who raise an awful fuss

Cuz you're just looking out for

What's best for all of us.

And now's the time to make

The wisest choice of all

Make Keyworth poet laureate

And really stand up tall.

Assuming that my appointment is a done deal -- a mere formality like those special event liquor license applications, I hereby submit my first poem as the town's Official Poet Laureate, and what subject is more appropriate than the momentous council decision to raise the speed limit on what can never again be called the world's slowest parkway. I call it ...

Speeding on Tyler Parkway on a Snowy Evening

(with apologies to Robert Frost)

Whose road this is I think I know,

Their houses are in the distance though.

They will not see me speeding by

To get to where I need to go.

That watchful cop must think it queer,

Cuz I'm doin' 40 while he's on my rear.

His siren gives a mournful wail,

I'm busted -- that sucker's right on my tail.

He gives his ticket book a tug,

And writes me one with nary a shrug.

I accept my fate with a fare-thee-well,

Not daring to say where I think he should dwell.

But never again will I take this abuse,

For the council has finally sprung us all loose

With the speed limit 40, you cops can vamoose.

With the speed limit 40, you cops can vamoose.

So now, "mighty, noble" council, it's time to make it official. I will even accept appointment by a less-than-unanimous vote, say, oh, 6-1 with Bryan Siverson casting the lone dissenting vote. I would only advise Mr. Siverson to be careful not to fall into the Hoby Herron Memorial Rut. Being the lone dissenter is a cold, lonely existence and then you end up moving to a place called Bend where you will be rained on evermore. So, Mr. Siverson, be like Edgar Allen Poe and say, "Nevermore" will I cast the lone dissenting vote.

There, now, it's unanimous.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I love this council,

And you should too.

(Columnist's note: After this column was written, some Tyler Parkway residents successfully mounted a campaign to get the council to reconsider its decision to raise the speed limit on Tyler Parkway to 40 mph in favor of a 35 mph compromise. Substituting 35 for 40 in poems messes them up really bad, so we have elected to ignore the council if it chooses to enact this compromise. Nothing personal, "mighty, noble" council.)

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