Survival is insufficient

One spring, we found a dead bird on our grill near a messy, abandoned nest. The naked, reptilian fledglings were four yellow gaping diamonds too weak to chirp. Their will to survive matched my need to keep them alive. They bore no resemblance to the flying creatures they became. I could imagine them singing Rilke’s words: WIR sind nur Mund…
“Wer singt das ferne Herz,
das heil inmitten aller Dinge weilt?
“ I ask myself. What unseen mind outside us directs the heartbeat of the world?
Sometimes, like those birds, I’m content with mere survival. I spend days eating, sleeping, and doing the minimum necessary while time moves on. At other times, as in the poem, suddenly
“…the great heartbeat breaks through
in us, we cry out—”
become one with the Great Intelligence, feeding something else that grows and is transforming.
Survival is insufficient.


Inspired by dVerse, with my own translation of Rilke’s Heartbeat, which is usually translated as “Only mouths are we./ Who sings the distant heart/ which safely exists in the center of all things?”

We are only mouth…
“Who sings that far-off heart/ that lives intact within all things


  1. Oh my heart this is gorgeously deep and poignant. I love the fiery passion in your prose that implores one to choose life and to offer help when another is in need. Thank you so much for writing to the prompt. 💝💝

    PS: One small request though.. please use the original wording of the quote by Rilke in your prose as per rules. I would appreciate it. 🙂


  2. I felt your sensibility for Rilke’s words here, even though I don’t know German, I could pick out certain words and I got the sense. And the story of the chicks fight for survival and your efforts to save them was very moving!

    Liked by 1 person

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