This poem was first published in the 2001 volume Widerwelten. Ušalinake ljumi, in which some of the poems are translated into Romani. It has no title, and it is unclear when it was written. At the time of publication, however, Mariella Mehr had been living in Tuscany for some years and was working on her latest novel, which was published in 2002 under the title Angeklagt [Accused].
The literary oeuvre of Mariella Mehr is strongly autobiographical: through memorable images or comparisons, it frequently refers to former and recent experiences of the author. Nevertheless, one should not draw hasty conclusions from her poems about her well-being.
In this poem, a lyrical ‘I’ speaks about a precarious experience, a painful sense of dislocation and a closeness to death that is menacing and yet almost playfully rejected: the lyrical ‘I’ is ‘still waiting for life and a summer-bud of light’.
Striking is the inclusion of Prometheus. In classical Greek mythology, Prometheus is punished for giving fire to mankind against the will of Zeus. He is chained to the Caucasus mountains and every day an eagle comes to feed on his daily regenerating liver.
In Mariella Mehr’s poem, the lyrical ‘I’ replaces the liver with a heart and can imagine being that heart. Something that is harassed and injured day after day – and yet survives.
Source of text sample
Mehr, Mariella. 2001. Widerwelten. Ušalinake ljumi. Übersetzung ins Romanes von Mišo Nikolić. Mit einem Geleitwort von Kurt Marti. Klagenfurt: Drava: 46.