Wronke, May 2, 1917

(…) You ask what I am reading. Natural science for the most part; I am studying the distribution of plants and animals.

Yesterday I was reading about the reasons for the disappearance of songbirds in Germany. The spread of scientific forestry, horticulture, and agriculture, have cut them off from their nesting places and their food supply. More and more, with modern methods, we are doing away with hollow trees, wastelands, brushwood, and fallen leaves. I felt sore at heart. I was not thinking so much about the loss of pleasure for human beings, but I was so much distressed at the idea of the stealthy and inexorable destruction of these defenseless little creatures, that the tears came into my eyes. I was reminded of a book I read in Zurich, in which Professor Siebel describes the dying-out of the Redskins in North America. Just like the birds, they have been gradually driven from their hunting grounds by civilized men.

I suppose I must be out of sorts to feel everything so deeply. Sometimes, however, it seems to me that I am not really a human being at all but like a bird or a beast in human form. I feel so much more at home even in a scrap of garden like the one here, and still more in the meadows when the grass is humming with bees than – at one of our party congresses. I can say that to you, for you will not promptly suspect me of treason to socialism! You know that I really hope to die at my post, in a street fight or in prison. But my innermost personality belongs more to my tomtits than to the comrades. (…)

Public Domain: Luxemburg Internet Archive 2005. First Published: Letters from Prison: by Rosa Luxemburg: with a portrait and a facsimile, Young International at Schönberg in Berlin, 1921–1923. Translation: Eden and Cedar Paul