Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu


Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu Foto: Stefanie Silber

Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu ist eine eritreische Lyrikerin, Journalistin und Schriftstellerin. Bis zu ihrer Freilassung im Januar 2015 musste sie sechs Jahre lang unter schlimmsten Bedingungen im „Mai Swra“ Gefängnis ausharren, in das sie willkürlich ohne Anklage oder Gerichtsverfahren gesperrt wurde. Seitdem droht ihr eine erneute Verhaftung und sie ist auf der Flucht. Seit Dezember 2018 ist Mebrathu Stipendiatin des Writers-in-Exile Programms des deutschen PEN.

 

I am not a Poet

I love poetry, but I am not a poet
Poets fascinate me
But I never said, ‘I am a poet’:
because I have killed my courage,
wounded my conscience,
have closed my eyes, trusting my ears,
and learned how to live, deceiving my heart.
Because I resisted to sacrifice for truth, I walk down cast.
I have become the grave of my emotions.
Sir, you are wrong, you are wrong,
Madam, I am not who you say I am.
What is but a poet!?
What is but a poetess!?
Life’s cover is not its deeper [truth],
The tongue is not the emotion.
Having read, examined, and observed
Truth, love, conscience, and justice combined
The poet abides with struggle, for the sake of beauty
Listens to his heart
Advocates for the oppressed, whose tongue is imprisoned
Self-sabotaging to pay with his gasp.
The pen is his candle, emotion is his sword
The poet is the light and the candle
I cannot accept an honor that I cannot uphold
I want to be, not to act.

Poem by Yirgalem Fisseha; Translation by Ghirmai Negash