Everywhere a Sign

One day, a-weary an’ afoot,
I found me at a street to cross
A line of people stood there
None of whom were gone across

I looked it up, I looked it down
That perfectly straight street
And not one single moving car
Me rovin’ eye was there to meet

For three blocks that way and again
For three blocks that way, too
Nobody even put a key
A still parked auto to

And so I did as certain would
Any prideful maiden do
I placed me reasonable foot
The darker tar unto

Clear it became what had become
The free will those bystanders of
I heard meself abruptly hailed
From somewhere near above

And saw hovering over me
The sort of gloomy sight
Not calculated to bring any
Prideful maiden much delight

For lurking thereabouts somewhere
Not too near nor yet too far
Were the sort of folk we keep
To keep ourselves, at war

Glancing o’er their shoulders
As so many folk prefer
Anxious to aught opinion
Other than their own defer

The presence by their timorous
Eyes had been more eas’ly seen
Of horseback Bobbies ignorant
Proximal of which I had been

I got myself a lecture
On the wond’rous dangerous
Potentials of a streaking
Corner-turning city bus

Nor yet from those jackrabbit starts
Parallel-parked autos by
Which easily could flatten me —
They had to wonder why

I’d flagrant disobeyed a law
Designed me own benefit for
They couldn’t find it in their hearts
To respect me any more

But needs must issue me a slip
Indicating my penalty:
A quarter of my monthly income
Taken thus away from me

Between that morning and the one
On which I went to court
I did to contemplation
On this subject much resort

Marveling a system at
Purported justice of
Within which reas’nability
Doth misdemeanor prove

And in such wise explain
To concerned inquiry itself
By starving me for — maybe —
Hurting no one but myself

On some far and far different day
When there’d be heavy traffic on
That long straight empty silent street
Which I had set me foot upon

Now, strange to say, I happened in
The daily paper see
An article at just this time
Most int’resting to me

Appearing synchronistic’ly
As though for self specific meant
It told of an unusual
Daring experiment

In two bad intersections
Somewhere modern Europe in
For which no amount of signage
Any safety seemed to win

Each one of which saw at the least
Two hundred accidents a year —
Now operatives out from sight
Came every single sign to clear

Each “Walk/Don’t Walk,” “Turn Left,” and “Yield”
Every “Don’t You Dare Change Your Lane”
When they were through, artistic’ly
Those crossroads were pristine again

Readers, in what do you think this
Radical action then result —
Was’t palliation or instead
Aggravation that was felt;

More risk experienced, or less
The drivers of those roadways by?
— Each had two accidents that year.
They studied to determine why:

Without the artificial
Barrage loud instructions by
The people in those crossroads
Looked each other in the eye

And listened to each other, too
And nodded, waved each other on —
Became fixated their good brothers,
Not the signs, upon.

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