On life


Opening and closing

Systole and diastole

How lucky we are!

We do not have to command our heart to beat

or control the expansion or contraction


Lungs fill, lungs empty

Organs, physical and spiritual together

We live without effort.


If only that were true when the heart is pierced by pain

Or our bellies drop with fear

When the throat parches

And the tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth

Then we need effort and the courage to risk



and standing still

Even when the winds blow

and the inner admonitions sound true but are not


That is when we command our heart to stay strong

We swallow the fear

We stand and unglue our tongues

We say, No

Or we say Yes.

Systole and diastole.

How lucky.



Silvia Behrend




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