Real Estate Lament

I hesitate to make a list

Of all the countless deals I’ve missed:

Bonanzas that were in my grip-

I watched them through my fingers slip.

The windfalls, which I should have bought

Were lost because I over-thought:

I thought of this, I thought of that;

I could have sworn I smelled a rat.

And while I thought things twice,

Another bought them at the price.

 

It seems I always hesitate,

Then make my mind up much too late.

A very cautious man I am.

 

And that is why I never buy.

 

How Nassau and how Suffolk grew!

North Jersey!  Staten Island, too!

While others culled those sprawling farms

And welcomed deals with open arms-

A corner here, ten acres there,

Compounding values year by year.

I chose to think, and as I thought,

They bought the deals I should have bought.

 

When tracts rose high on Sixth and Third,

The prices asked I felt absurd;

Whole block-fronts – bleak and black with soot

Were priced at thirty bucks a foot!

I wouldn’t even make a bid,

But others did- Yes! Others did!

 

When Tucson was cheap desert land

I could have had a heap of sand.

When Phoenix was the place to buy,

I thought the climate much too dry!

“Invest in Dallas- That’s the spot!”

My sixth sense warned me I should not.

A very prudent man am I

 

And that is why I never buy.

 

The golden chances I had then

Are lost, and will not come again.

Today I cannot be enticed

For everything’s so overpriced.

The deals of yesterday are dead;

The market’s soft—and so’s my head!

 

Last night I had a fearful dream;

I know I wakened with a scream.

Some Indians approached my bed-

For trinkets on the barrelhead

(In dollar bills worth twenty-four,

Nothing less and nothing more)

They’d sell Manhattan Isle to me;

The most I’d go was twenty-three.

The Redman scowled: “Not on a bet!”

And sold to Peter Minuit.

 

At times a teardrop drowns my eye

For deals I had but did not buy.

And now life’s saddest words I pen-

 

If only I’d invested then!

 

Author Unknown. This poem was published in Farm and Land Magazine – October 1917

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