From the internal evidence of the poem as well as comments attributed to the author, we can deduce that this "crystal ball" is not physical but something engendered deep in the psyche by a childhood experience or series of experiences.
One of the more reliable commentators in the Third Galaxy was Elmer Eggplant. His intellectual integrity, combined with, at times, an almost excruciating honesty, meant that, although known, he was never nationally syndicated in what would later become the United State of Arrogance. In fact, he found it necessary to expatriate himself at an early age. With the Imbuggeration of Ronald Rexona as Supreme Hole he had to go underground and, if the Alien Veggies had not appeared he would probably have suffered, as so many other unfortunates, a painful death in the Chambers of Secrecy, far below the clicking relays where the National Security of Arrogance was grown.
One of Eggplant's recurring themes in his criticism is how prophecy is often confused with prolepsis. Simply speaking, prolepsis is the gift (or curse) of speaking of things before they occur. Prophecy is the dedicated speaking of truth to power. Since truth is nothing more than the reality of the way-things-are and the way-things-are is simply the fruit of the past unfolding into the present. The future then is simply the unfolding of the potentialities implicit in the present into the future.
It should be obvious then that prophecy will necessarily strike sparks of prolepsis, however, it is merely a side effect -- and often a most troublesome one to boot!
I will leave you now with the unknown poet's "Crystal Ball":
I looked into my crystal ball,_________________________________________
but do not care to dare to speak of what I saw...
I saw sweet reflections on the screen
showing monsters rising amid choking clouds of steam.
They fill the streets with blood and screams
and bodies floating softly down silent streams.
Another time: I saw a man
between two rows of thrashing flails -- he ran and ran...
When he reached that wicked gauntlet's end,
he fell into a deep, white pit of sand!
Was it a film or some crazy show?
I asked my Mom, but Daddy said it wasn't so.
But as I go through rain and snow,
I wonder if they really didn't want to know?
When you really have a crystal ball,
you sometimes wish you didn't have a ball at all...
Some time shortly after the War to Make the World Safe for Whatever, when I was perhaps four years old, I had an experience which I here call "Deep White Pit". It probably was a newsreel, but it may have been a dream.
If it was indeed a newsreel it was a scene of retribution and revenge acted out in a "liberated" country. The little child of my identity saw people being forced to run a gauntlet as people on both sides beat the shit out of them with flails. At the gauntlet's end they fell into a pit. The sight of them writhing in the sand is burnt into my memory. Does it matter the smallest piece of shit of what they were "guilty" of? The fact is, all compassion and forgiveness dwells in the heart of the little child.
Did I really ask my parents about it? Who's to know? The fact is that people often do not want to know the wicked things done to bring them their illusions and tingle-tangle. It is the truth that I really do often wish I did not know the things I know and the things I see coming down the tube.