Sir Dominick’s Bargain X


“Take this gift and belong to me,” he says
He does not lie to you
Though the truth he tells will be
Too terrible for you to hear

A handsome gentleman with a hollow smile
With a gold laced coat and a voice like warm wine
He does not offer a name
But you know who your master will be
It is the sharp edged taste in the air that tells you
It is the way his eyes know you
The way each hair on your neck stands high
The red itch on your chest where your crucifix lies

“Take this bag of coins and more will follow,” he says
Not pebbles, not stones, not nutshells
Not empty promises to taunt and mock
And disappear come morning
A bag as wide as a hat
Full of guineas bright and new
A dreadful brightness to take in your arms
It is the heaviest load you will ever carry

“Take this good fortune and use it all,” he says
Though your heart tells you not to
Though your scalp creeps and your hands tremble
And your skin turns cold at the thought of it
You do just as he says
Because debts are due with more to follow
And demands rise on all sides
And there are no friends left to turn to
And there is nothing left to do
But continue the journey just begun

“You found the money good but not enough,” he says
“No matter. Come with me.
Are you willing?


Sir Dominick’s Bargain, 14 poems by Rufus Woodward based on the story by Sheridan Le Fanu.  Now available.


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