Thursday, 9 May 2013

Itch



They creep, crawl; grub about above her pockmarked skin,
she claws hard at them with sharp life-dirtied finger nails,
they deny her defence, manage to wriggle in

and (deep)below the surface leave their itchy trail,
gnaw at her flesh, mesh her dark thoughts, consume her mind,
tormented she begins to scream begins to wail

and delusionary arthropods’ maligned
continue merciless onslaught upon her flesh;
round her intestines worms and maggots intertwined

stranglehold agonise; knife raised she begins to thresh -
seed cut from straw momentarily relieves her distress.

Anna :o]

Delusional parasitosis can present with differing levels of affect – although the end result is the same (irritation – often extreme) – and accounts of its impact vary amongst sufferers.  The (sufferers) belief is held that parasites (insects etc.) crawl upon the skin and/or burrow into/under it and are accompanied with cutaneous sensations of biting, stinging, crawling and itching.

It is considered primarily as a hypochondriacal psychosis, but is also induced by psychoactive agents and is associated with mental (ill)health states.

The poem relates to a female patient I knew in my student days.  She had intractable schizophrenia and her life was that of sheer torment.   I have never met a poor soul more damaged than she.  Her distress distressed me then as it does now thinking of her.  I have written of her before, here.   I don’t think I will ever forget her.
.....................................................................

Tony at dVerse has us attempting Terza Rima – thanks for the inspiration Tony.  Although the iambic pentameter is not exactly spot on - the above is my attempt.

Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

26 comments:

Björn said...

Terrible symptomes so well described so I feel my skin itch. The story and info below was even more disturbing.

Brian Miller said...

geez...that is creepy...on a minor scale i have felt the bugs on my skin long after they are gone but not that bad...really great descriptives...like life dirtied finger nails....and the maggots....ewww...ha...nicely done to form too

anotherwanderingsoul said...

wow, reading this makes me want to scratch myself... i cannot even begin to imagine how that must be.
great use of the form, very intense work.

Heaven said...

Wow, what a torment for her ~ The itchy sensation on the skin is very well done ~ Good work on the form ~

Mary said...

What a horrible malady. I feel myself itching in empathy right now from reading your words. Yikes!!

rowantaw.com said...

Just thinking about it makes me squirm and itch. How terrible to plagued by it continually.

Semaphore said...

The objective correlative of the imagined insects and parasites on her skin unbalance the reader, so that they are at some level on the same plane of experience as your protagonist. This makes for an effective narrative, breathtaking and horrific.

Charles Miller said...

Scary, I take it you don't like things with several legs? :-)

Claudia said...

oh heck...there are heavy emotions in this...such a poor woman...sounds like she's really tormented badly...i like the images you use to..make it so palpable

aprille said...

Anna, no denying: your blog makes for uncomfortable reading.
It is raw, truthful and penetrating. I am in awe of your attitude to your job and your compassion for the people in your care.
To have to fight your daily confrontation with deep trouble on various levels, and still find the strength to bring the failures of our society into the open at the end of your hard working days: it defies belief.
I salute you and hope that you do allow yourself the relaxation your body and mind require to hang in there.

Anders Woje Ellingsen said...

I hope she found people who did not act like that - like those insects. That is what it is all about.

rumoursofrhyme said...

A most un-sonnetlike subject, but very well done. It made my skin crawl just reading it.

pandamoniumcat said...

Oh my this is terrifying, the thought of it ugh! Damn it I think I'm beginning to itch! Yikes!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Thank you for your welcome comments folks - much appreciated.

Anna :o]

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anna .. poor woman and like you I'm sure if I'd worked with her - I'd have never forgotten her ... not sure I will now either.

Love the poem - well no - I'd forgo the itches for ever ... yes I too would like to scratch!

Cheers and have a good weekend .. Hilary

VaNdAnA ShArMa said...

very well said and depicted!!!

mindlovemisery said...

Oh wow Anna this poem is effective because I am itchy all over now lol Brilliant writing =)

Eusebia Philotes said...

Amazing and horrifying to recount the ways that a sentient being can be so tormented. Nothing but sympathy for the poor soul.

Tino said...

The poem itself cuts deep into my inner skin. After reading it I've put down my sleeves. Such a poor soul.

mindlovemisery said...

The 3rd prompt is up if you are interested =)

vb holmes said...

Your empathy for the patient's suffering is evident in your words--a sensitive, yet effective (very effective), description of the torment of multiple insect bites. Well done.

A Heron's View said...

Damn it ! Am starting to itch all over perhaps I should check myself in and get spaced out on free drugs - do you reckon ?

Jenny Woolf said...

One rarely thinks of people in perpetual torment, it seems such a biblical thing. And very distressing to realise that there are some who are like this. We prefer to forget them, I know.

Dave King said...

Strong poem that portrays vividly affliction we - most of us - would happily forget exists at all.

Martin said...

Horrible indeed, but not your poem, of course ;-) You wrote it in such an emphatic way that the reader can almost feel the itch. I hope she found peace and got rid of those creatures.

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