Why do you whirl a lantern
that flashes into my eyes?
Because a hawk flies above my head
and a tower stands behind me.
Why do you sit with one bare foot exposed?
Because yellow flowers surprise my ankles
and a soldier stands there watching.
Why do you dare to climb down the hill?
Because I carry a hammer, a chain,
and the moon is still full in the sky.
Why does your hair fall to your waist?
Because I have dreamed your journey
and the castle door is barred.
Why are you moving quickly now?
Because in my heart grows berried holly
and you are surrounded by oak.
For three and a half decades Katharyn Howd Machan, picking up where Rod Serling left off, has taught creative writing at Ithaca College in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Her specialty courses, besides in poetry, are Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, Women and Fairy Tales, and first-year seminars called Fairy Tales: The Hero’s Journey. Her poems have appeared in 32 published collections and many magazines, anthologies, and textbooks.