Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
“Picture Ahead”
By John V. A. Weaver
I WAS hikin’ along the road by Simmonsville.
I useta go out somewheres every Sunday
And walk off all the dirt and noise and nerves
That come from the week in the city in the store;
And say, it was like I made myself clean over.        5
I could see the top of the hill from where I was,
And I was gettin’ excited the way I did
When I been trampin’ up-hill for a ways
In some place where I never was before
And played games with myself about the view        10
That’s comin’ when I hit the top—you know:
“Will it be a river twistin’ through the woods,
Or a drop that makes your breath stick in your throat,
Or will it be only nothin’, after all,
Exceptin’ just the plain everyday country?”        15
It’s a great game, I’ll say…. I useta love it.
And half the fun’s not knowin’ what is comin’….
Well, fifty yards, maybe, is still to go,
And I stops up to get my second wind,
And then that sign it slaps me in the eye:        20
“Picture Ahead!”
                Can y’imagine it?
“Picture Ahead!”… I ast you! What the hell!
Is that the fix that all of us has got to?
Is that what machinery has went and done?
Autos, and airryoplanes, and railroad trains,        25
And all the helps the papers yells about,
Tellin’ us how the worl’ is so much better,
And what a bunch of boobs our fathers was?
They want to make us all machines, is that it?
Even they got to take away the fun        30
Of guessin’ what is comin’ on the road!
They tell us, “Hurry! Get the camera out!
You ain’t got sense enough to tell what’s what.
You can’t tell when they’s anything worth seein’.”
I got so mad, I went and jumped the fence,        35
And run acrost the field. Damned if I’d go
And see a sight that was all canned, you might say,
Or like a travel-movie….
                        All my life
I had my fun pretendin’ to myself
That every view I seen belonged to me,        40
Different from anybody’s, mine especial.
“Picture Ahead!”
                I stopped there in the field,
And turned aroun’, and beat it for the train.
I just can’t get the heart to go no more.
The country’s spoilt, and lots of things is spoilt,        45
Just on account that sign…. I feel so old,
And everything I see looks old and worn-out.
Machinery!… Machinery!… “Picture Ahead!”…

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