Only Mouths: Prosery

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.”

75 thoughts on “Only Mouths: Prosery

  1. 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!

  2. 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! 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. kaykuala

    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!

    Hank

  9. 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!!!

  10. 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….

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