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Heuer, G.M. (2016). Mother. Psychoanal. Perspect., 13(2):243-244.

(2016). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 13(2):243-244


Gottfried M. Heuer, Ph.D.

My famous namesake,

the poet Gottfried Benn,

began his poem, Mother,

about a hundred years ago,

with, ‘I bear you on my forehead,

like an open wound.’


this is not

what I feel

when I think of you …

You, mother, Mutti,

in my mother-tongue,

you gave me

the gift of life.

Without you

there would be no I,

and: I love

being alive.

How can I hope

to ever thank you

sufficiently for that?


you, and, of course,

my father, with God’s grace

and blessings,

knew each other, and ¾


conceived, and you

gave birth,

to me—

at a time

when all around us

there was hell,

doubly so:

the hell of Nazi-Germany,

and the inferno

of its cataclysmic end

in war:

bombs, burning houses,

and dead bodies in the streets

of my hometown

in Northern Germany.

Amidst all this,

you three,

Mutti, Papa, God (he and/or she),

created me;


you named me Gottfried,

which is God’s peace.

That is—

were you aware of this?

Sorry, silly question—you

followed Martin Luther,

who supposedly had vouched,

‘Even if I knew

the world were to end tomorrow,

I would still

plant an apple-tree


Liebe Mutti,

my dear mother, I

am that apple-tree

of yours.

Before you knew

that I was male,

you had wished to call me


your own middle name.


[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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