Two children run through a valley of tall grass,
their lives not yet defined by boundaries
on this still endless summer day,
chasing butterflies and singing
until out of breath they see their mother
motionless on a hill nearby guarded by pines,
her face frozen, her voice trapped in fear.
When they escape to embrace her
she forbids them to enter the field again,
its grass filled with nests of rattlesnakes
they cannot hear. Their mother returns home
but looks back to see if her son and daughter have heeded
words that will make them wonder forever
if joy is always accompanied by pain.
Rüdiger Rückmann is a poet, essayist, and High School Program Director and Lead Teacher at Honolulu Waldorf School. He attends Honolulu Friends Meeting (PacYM) and is a member of West Branch Friends Meeting (IYMC). His Quaker faith inspires his writing.