Madam and the Fortune Teller


"Madam and the Fortune Teller" is the fifth song of Siegmeister's Madam To You cycle, which sets seven texts of Langston Hughes.

Madam and the Fortune Teller
by Langston Hughes

Fortune teller looked in my hand.
Fortune teller said,
Madam, It's just good luck
You ain't dead.

Fortune teller squeeze my hand.
She squinted up her eyes.
Fortune teller said,
Madam, you ain't wise.

I said, Please explain to me
What you mean by that?
She said, You must recognize
Where your fortune's at.

I said, Madam, tell me--
For she was Madam, too--
Where is my fortune at?
I'll pay some mind to you.

She said, Your fortune, honey,
Lies right in yourself.
You ain't gonna find it
On nobody else's shelf.

I said, What man you're talking 'bout?
She said, Madam! Be calm--
For one more dollar and a half,
I'll read your other palm.

--The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, pp. 354-5


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