:: Article

Studies in Hysteria

By Anna Kisby.

Studies in Hysteria by Sigmund Freud (edited extracts)

(i) The old room (Fraulein Anna O)

Hold up an orange before her eyes

to carry her over from 1882
to 1881. She lived the previous winter
day by day.

Re-living a private diary

kept by her mother. Knocked up
against the fact her father – her father had died

(ii) She is no longer able to see (Frau Emmy von N)

She entertains me with animal
scenes, pictures
of corpses

I stroke her several times
I stroke her over the eyes

Wiping away
pictures, eyes

(iii) I inquire once more (Miss Lucy R)

I inquire about smell.
She is bothered
by burnt pudding;
by cigar smoke

Not very well satisfied,
it emerged

(iv) I owe a debt of gratitude (Katharina – )

Prudish ladies of my city
I could not penetrate further

but she had been found out.
Part of his body, tactile sensation.

Conjecture, imagine, interpret –
now I am a grown-up girl and know all sorts of things

(v) I arrive at a procedure (Fraulein Elisabeth Von R)

Begin layer by layer.
Excavating a buried city.
Opening eyes. Changing.

Her story, a wearisome one

(vi)The rule of metaphor (Frau Cacilie M)

Under the watchful eye of her strict grandmother
a penetrating pain a look so piercing

it had gone right into her brain

(vii) Loth to remember (Fraulein Rosalia H)

She did not dare refuse her bad uncle jerking her fingers fending off
that moment

(viii) A great success (Fraulein Mathilde H)

I continued while she was
to address her while
she was I continued

Anna Kisby‘s poems have been placed in competitions and published in magazines including Mslexia, Seam, Poetry News, Ink Sweat & Tears, Orbis and South Bank Poetry. She was winner of the New Writer poetry competition 2011. She lives in Brighton and works as an archivist.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Monday, September 17th, 2012.