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Picture Poems

No Enchanted Castle / Questions

All of the poems in my 2001 Picture Poem collection except these two were written specifically for their photographs. These poems are older, from December of 1994, when I was a Math graduate student at UCSB unsuccessfully courting a young lady of similar occupation. (She had earlier given me a tape of Korean music that included The Enchanted Castle.)

That original version of "No Enchanted Castle" ended with a slightly different stanza that I needed to modify to make appropriate to give to my recently married in-laws.

Enchantress, please, a favor:
      Please do not ever tell
If one day you'll laugh and leave me
      Or join me within your spell.

(Similarly, all the photographs except this one were taken during a few walks around where I then lived in Rochester, New York.)

The four "Questions" were inspired by the famous Book of Questions by Pablo Neruda.

There is no enchanted castle,
      No walls, you're in all I do;
No tower hides your beauty,
      In everything I see you.

There is no evil wizard,
      You're not under a spell.
It's I who am bound with sighs and dreams
      Captured, I feel too well.

You do not need a rescue,
      You do not need to be freed,
What use are knights without giants?
      Without a heroic deed?

Yet I know there is still magic,
      Can you see it in my eyes?
Can you feel it when I touch your hand,
      Smile, and my spirits rise?

You are my enchanted castle,
      Majestic in your high grace:
How strange to feel both free and safe
      In your secure embrace.

How much could we say only with holding hands?

How much does time slow down when we touch noses?

When did my heart learn to hum in accompaniment to your laughter?

How is it that beauty and grace, which isolated are not funny, work like salt to enrich our humor?