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Text of Poem

Own all the land you can get,
tile the sloughs, blast the rocks,
burn the trees in the grove,
level the hills and bury the creek,
you bought it to make it pay, didn’t you?
Fence it, fence it, heavy gauge woven wire
with three barbed wires on top— show
who’s the owner. You can act like
a king and say, by god, what shall
be done and not done, what field plowed
(even the old sod pasture) and which
one souped up with fertilizer. It’s
your land, isn’t it? Poison the gophers,
trap the raccoons, shoot the crows,
all enemies of profit, whose farm is it
anyway? You give it the works and get
used to the mortgage on your back.
          And won’t you be surprised some
morning, oh, who knows when, but later on
some fine morning a man like you with a
gimp in his leg, and a tricky heart and
shaky hands will pound in a stake and nail
a board on it that says FOR SALE.

First Line
Own all the land you can get
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
A Single Focus. Iowa City: Prairie Press. 1967. 44.
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Poetic Form
I'm not sure when the transition happened, but this is a nature-poem not a farmer-poem (and critical of the "productive" land approach of a poem like "Choosing").
Twitter Quote
heavy gauge woven wire / with three barbed wires on top