In her memory of that time—the war, the occupation–every day was bleak and dismal, as if filmed through a grey filter. Most everyone looked pale and gaunt. She dressed in layers of threadbare clothing—and ate what scraps she could obtain. Her thin face seemed all eyes, but she thought, “only mouths are we.”
Who sings? The distant heart, which safely exists in the center of all things? Perhaps, but the mouths she knew then were hungry and crying for food, not singing. It wasn’t only the winter gloom; it was also a darkness of the soul. She kept her mouth closed, so that she wouldn’t reveal any secrets–and so that she wouldn’t scream.
But what about Paul? Had his mouth also stayed closed? She needed to know her sacrifices—and love– had meant something. She needed to find him now. (144 Words)
Another installment in my occasional and non-linear spy series for today’s dVerse Prosery prompt. Sanaa has chosen quite a difficult couple of lines for her Prosery prompt!
“Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart
which safely exists in the center of all things?” from Rainer Maria Rilke, “Heartbeat.”
Oh Merril, is this another part of your spy story? I am intrigued to know more. It sounds like these people have endured much hardship. I hope they get to meet again!
Thank you so much, Ingrid.
I don’t really know who they are or what happened either. 😀 They were both spies in France in WWII. She thinks Paul might have betrayed her, but he disappeared, and now many years later, she’s searching for him.
That could be quite a loaded reunion…
This is incredibly deep and enticing, Merril! I so love the fact that you chose to add to your amazing spy series 😀 and was especially moved by; “Perhaps, but the mouths she knew then were hungry and crying for food, not singing. It wasn’t only the winter gloom; it was also a darkness of the soul.” 💝💝
Thank you so much for adding your voice to the prompt! 🙂
Thank you so much, Sanaa! I’m pleased you liked it. 💙
Oh yes, Merril, I love the Resistance story! Especially the description of life in the Second World War ‘as if filmed through a grey filter. Most everyone looked pale and gaunt.’ And well done for manipulating the prompt so deftly with punctuation! The repetition of ‘mouth(s)’ and the way it echoed throughout the piece was very effective. Can’t wait to find out more about Paul.
Thank you so much, Kim. I love your enthusiasm. This was a tough prompt. I have no idea where this story is going. 😀
It doesn’t matter where it’s going, Merril, as long as it keeps going! 🙂
Awwww! Thanks. 💙
I would love them to find each other in the end… what a journey through hell a war can be, and not just for soldiers but also for people at home. Your way of describing the mouths and tying them to starvation is excellent.
Thank you so much! I hope they do find each other, too. 😀
Wonderful prose passage about your fabulous spies. Excellent writing.
Thank you so much, Lisa!
You’re very welcome.
Nice one. Luv that you teamed up with The Scream
Thank you! I thought of The Scream right away. Happy Monday to you, too. 💙
I found this piece of prose very enticing. It is well written. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting!
So very clever and enticing. I agree that the Rilke quote was tough to drop into prose, but your spy tale continuum was an excellent vehicle; a fun read.
Thank you very much, Glenn. I appreciate that!
Well done! I remember you have this series. So intriguing 🙂
Thank you so much!
You managed it wonderfully well! What a mouthful to have to fit in! Changing the punctuation is inspired.
Thank you very much! It was a challenge. I’m glad you thought it worked well.
It did 🙂
This is very intriguing!! And I love Rilke.
Thank you very much, Luanne. I like Rilke, too, but it was difficult to work in those lines!😀
Fantastically well crafted, Merril.
Thank you very much, David! 💙
What great story poetry. This is brilliant, Merril. 🌸
Thank you so much, Colleen! 💙
Your story has a lot of suspense and drama, with lots of ongoing questions! Well done.
Thank you very much, Dwight!
You are welcome!
I want to read the next chapter!
What a treat to discover another installment of the spy series! And well done with responding to the challenging prompt!!
Thank you so much, Liz!
You’re welcome, Merril!
Such a painful set of memories.
Yes, I can’t even really imagine it.
I love the flow of your prose!
Thank you so much, Freya!
Oh yes! I love how you split the line. Perfection! And… managed to continue your story while doing so!
Thank you so much! 😀
Now to find what I wanted to write down this one …
Your concise prosery is both chilling and familiar as I’m now reading All the Ways We Said Goodbye, weaving together the experiences of three women whose fates are joined by the Ritz in Paris, spanning WWI, WWII, and a followup in the 1960s. Lots of “mouthing” as in your piece, Merril.
Thank you, Marian. I love the synchronicity! 😀
Aww–thank you so much, Linda!
Excellent! A pleasure to read this!
Thank you very much!
I love how you turned the declarative “who sings the distant heart” into the call and response “who sings? The distant heart.” Your additional quoting of the poem is also marvelously effective. It prompted me to reread the original through the filter of your writing.
Thank you so much. That is such a wonderful compliment!
And now? I need more … a most brilliant use of Rilke’s line.
Thank you so much, Helen!
She needed to know her sacrifices—
and love– had meant something.
It is satisfying to able to know how her hardships meant to his ears. War is a cruel experience, Merril!
Thank you, Hank. Yes, indeed it is.
Thank you very much!
I love the way you keep coming at this story from different angles. (K)
Thank you very much! 😀
Oh Merril, this was incredibly done. Your use of the prompt poem excels here as a call/response. Bravo!
Thank you so much for your kind words!
Well then, now I will have to go and check out some of the other parts of the spy series. I liked the way the subtle changes in punctuation totally made the prompt line a lot more of a utility for this particular piece of writing. Loved every minute!!!
Thank you so much! The stories don’t exactly go together, but they’re sort of about the same people, except for the first one, I think.
Such an enticing mystery. My guess is that her love, her sacrifices, helped save Paul’s life. And he’ll be back for her (romantic that I am). But oh, the horrors of what she’s gone through, which you show in such few words….
Thank you so much, Pam. I’m really not sure what happened. 😏
You are keeping the lessons of the past alive.
I see the holocaust in this.
Thank you so much, Resa. Yes, I imagine it’s there.