IN MEMORY OF HANS AND SOPHIE SCHOLL AND CHRISTOPH PROBST

Beheaded February 22, 1943

The petals of the White Rose fall
All over Munich, here and there—
In empty bus stop, lecture hall—
Throughout the anxious winter air.

No other flowers could affright
The righteous Reich so well as these
Sheer stark white slips of paper, slight
Indictments of the land’s disease

Machine-engendered page by page,
Then freed by brave if quivering hand
To set each Richter in a rage
And make the good Volk understand

(Its hue that of a lamb’s pure fleece,
And Mary had one white as snow),
The White Rose will not give you peace
Unless you are prepared to know

The sacrifice of your own blood,
The clean chill of the silver blade
That comes down with a certain thud—
Know, and yet not be afraid.





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William Ruleman is Professor of English at Tennessee Wesleyan College, where he teaches a wide range of courses, including creative writing and literature, with a specialization in modern poetry in English. His poems have appeared in Acumen, Candelabrum, East River Review, The New Formalist, The Sonnet Scroll, The Galway Review, and Poetry Salzburg Review.