The James Hearst Digital Archive

Home » Poetry » Caveat Emptor

Caveat Emptor

Text of Poem

I meant to take a quiet walk
into the woods and hear the talk
of squirrels and jays and be alone
under a tree, perched on a stone,

and think my own thought for a while
in privacy and my own style.
My fault it seemed was innocence,
I found the woods caged by a fence,

a breast-high fence that had been built
to keep folk out, respect, not guilt,
for someone’s right to close a door
held me from what I’d claimed before

But where in silence I once stood
a sound of traffic shook the wood,
and where I sought the leafy tree
a billboard rose in front of me,

and word and picture said I ought
to be glad to buy what can be bought,
a world where barbed wire holds the line
beside a No Trespassing sign.

First Line
I meant to take a quiet walk
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Inserat Groteski 10 (Jan 1971) 33.
Complete Poems
Word Count
Poetic Form