"Click to Accept the Terms and Conditions"

Whene'er I meet
A legal sheet,
My parents taught
Me that I ought
To read with care
What's written there
Before I sign
The dotted line
And pledge the fame
Of my good name.
Only a fool
Would break that rule
And sign a deed
He didn't read.

But that was very long ago
  Now, twenty times a day,
Like almost everyone I know,
I check "Accept the terms", although
I didn't read a letter, so
  I don't know what they say.

I count on the benevolence,
The good will, and the common sense
  Of some strange corporate entity
  To do the tedious work for me
Of reading with due diligence.

The most farcical web sites are those that pretend
They're responsibly forcing the users to spend
Sufficient time reading that they comprehend
By making them scroll from the start to the end.

Of course I scroll past
But I do it so fast
That the contract I sign
Could well have a line
In red boldface font
And thirty-six point
That I'm willing to sell
My soul off to Hell
Have my fingernails torn
And to slay my first-born.
And I'd never see
What's required of me.

The world is sinking now in a cacophony of lies.
Each time I click, "I've read these terms", I join what I despise.

This is part of the collection Verses for the Information Age by Ernest Davis