Face Receding

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Dear Readers of Tennis, Trisomy 21, and Taking in Life Together!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. If you believe you have no one who loves you, know that you do. Believe in yourself and all the ways the world is better to have you as part of it. Call upon the angels who only wish to be heard from you and are there to guide and support you. Every life has a meaning and is a blessing to all of us.

I’m sending this post a few days early for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a short poem I have worked on for many years, a work in progress just like the poem I posted last week that became much stronger after a reader wrote me her suggestions.

Please stay safe and well!

Face Receding

Ravines spread on your neck and face.
Many are filled with permanent sadness
that need generations to trace.
Others are smaller, with hope
and years ahead, the exact number unknown
but wanting to be overflown
with travelers willing to defy chasms
still wanting to be embraced.

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 25 November 2020

To the Limit

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What happens when I’m ninety-five years old
and can no longer speak? When all my bite is gone
and I’m too weak to fight? Do I retreat altogether
and regret that I aimed high, that I always believed
that limits never ended with the sky?
Or do I keep going, knowing inside I may be
rediscovered like a hero who lost his way?

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 20 November 2020

Remember Always

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A gun killed a son.
He fell like a hero,
fearless and young.
In that moment a sparrow
lowered herself in flight
to pay respect
and then returned to the sky
while below
stunned parents sat motionless,
their hearts torn and bleeding
for their child.

At night they dream
and hear the cries of others fallen
until their voices grow still
and their eyes don’t see.
Will it ever stop,
the shrill truth
that the dead
won’t be brought back,
their wounds cannot be undone.
A parent can only love eternally
and mourn a lost son.

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 13 November 2020

Wisteria

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New wisteria reaches pell-mell beyond
my porch, seducers spreading lilac hope.
Their vines spread as they push away spines
of gentler plants hiding in retreat.

Young children play in late afternoon
before mothers and fathers everywhere
call out to make sure they safely return home
as evening asserts itself over a fading sun.

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 7 November 2020

The Newness of Everything

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In the midst of a pandemic I feel a resurgence.

I accepted a wonderful new job offer and I’m still in disbelief about how it all came together.

After decades of writing, I’ve become a better prose writer and poet. I recently had another article accepted for a major newspaper. I’ve written several new poems where I’ve left my comfort zone to dive deeper with words.

Thanks to my husband, we live in a wonderful new home that we own. For Hawaii, that is a minor miracle.

I found out that I can complete the Honolulu Marathon in December after all, that entrants can complete the distance over several days if they need to by running in their neighborhoods or on a treadmill as long as they offer proof for finishing the 26.2 miles.

I even took out my bassoon the other day and found the number of my former teacher to set up virtual lessons.

All this has happened in, well let me be generous to myself, in the early autumn of my life.

What are the lessons here, what can I teach my young daughter?

Persistence. Dedication to doing what you love even when rewards aren’t always immediate. Faith. Joining rewarding communities. Luck. Fate. Embracing a new day. Second chances.

I’m beyond grateful.

Contract Tracing

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I sit alone, tracing ancestors in my room,
far from broken countries they fled to reach
the new world, far from possessions they gathered
in final moments before they locked their homes
one final time and moved to hardscrabble cities,
distant from all they had ever known
in exchange for dreams and anonymity.

I traveled further than any other and found
my fortress, a lofty perch in the mountains,
desperate to escape the virus, locked in fears
that hopes my ancestors passed onto me
could leave forever, that someday I might disappear
until my life is traced and all that I have loved
is discovered and my yearning heart is exposed.

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 23 October 2020

Refusing Death

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My maple tree refuses to die.
Sprouts shoot up from its base
that has long looked forlorn
as leaves have dropped
and branches have stopped growing.
But the roots have not given up,
a thin layer of green peers through bark
torn by my shovel as I rushed through
this exhausting summer day.
Instead of being removed,
my tree will stay for now,
remaining leaves will feed
stubborn sprouts as night approaches,
as the cooling rain offers hope.

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 17 October 2020

Past Loves

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How do I ever thank you enough
for your patience, whether you were
just a few weeks or years until I found
the right fit to hold me tight forever?

You kept me close enough to feed hopes
that I was a prince waiting to be discovered,
that I could dream countless dreams
and you all would not leave.

But I always did, wanting more,
moving past my icy imperfections,
stretching bounds of good form,
please know I will love you all for eternity.

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 10 October 2020

Joan, Princess of Kennedy

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I am now a Kennedy only in name,
but day by day I make it through
and keep my place in history,
wondering, as I work through music
on the piano if I have brought any shame
to my family, the only I husband I ever knew,
a daughter, my best friend, always brave
no matter how often we worked through
a new tragedy, we found a way to save ourselves
even when I was in exile, a former princess
destined to be queen, but then I chose to leave,
hoping to start anew. My daughter died
and everything I knew to be sacred no longer was
and then I wondered why I try
to be part of a legend, a fairy tale
I can send to close friends and former family
that says, “Look, I made it, I’m still with you,
forever in history, staying close to the end.”

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 3 October 2020

Dial a Quaker

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Am I in an hour of need when I call a Friend
or just eager to be freed from thoughts
that cloud my mind as I race to find
last drops of meaning for this day
as darkness slowly overtakes mountains
that dwarf our home? I’ve allowed myself
to move here forever, a castle carved into hills,
an escape for hallowed thoughts, or so I hope,
an easier way to find Light, to see clearly
or flee the unknown as I dial a Quaker
for a quick fix of certainty, for instant belief.

© Rüdiger Herzing Rückmann, 26 September 2020