Gypsy Fortune Teller

A toothless hag in a darkened tent

Cackles her wares as she casts her spell,

"Come lady there with the handsome gent!

For I move Heaven and I move Hell!"

She tests the coin for a ringing sound,

Then reads their palms by a candle's glow;

With evil creeping upon the ground

She tells the things they should never know.

They hang in air! With a crafty eye

She stops, refuses to cast her spell;

Another coin and she reads the sky,

For she moves Heaven and she moves Hell.

The flap is closed, for she knows full well

The witching power of her ancient guile,

That crowds will gather beneath her spell;

She hears each pause with a crafty smile.

She knows man's urge to the secret world;

She knows its power as she casts her spell,

Then grasps the coin with her claws uncurled,

For she moved Heaven and she moves Hell.

So all day long in her eerie tent

She plies her trade and her purse grows fat.

She fills the mind with dark wonderment

Then sits back wise as a grinning cat.

A toothless hag in a musty tent

Cackles her wares as she casts her spell,

"Come lady there with the handsome gent,

For I move Heaven and I move Hell!"

My fire has died to an embered glow,

My youth has vanished and I am old,

Yet still I dream of the long ago

And hear again what the gypsy told.

The Archer

Fifth in Ballad Contest