The Witch of True

The wrinkled skin of her face was old,
Yet tight, like a desert tree.
Her eyes were bright, and piercing bold,
And blue as the far blue sea.
She said, while leaning above the sun,
“Go on, my young man, go on,
And do not stop till your goal is won,
And joy has leapt up like dawn.
And when you’re ninety, just like me,
Or maybe just seventy-four,
You won’t gtive a damn whatever you be,
For you’ll be much much more.”
She smiled then, with her broken teeth,
That glit in the setting sun,
And threw round my head a silver wreathe—
Half pay for my race yet run.
She cackled then, and pointed fierce,
Shrieking, “I’m the witch of true!
Give up on yourself, or follow fears,
My curse will follow you!”
I picked her up and kissed her lips,
Then set her, light, aside,
And though I’m eighty, make my trips
Toward the lands of daring pride.

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