Cathleen Allyn Conway
You have had the canker of hereditary syphilitic ghosts.
No sun, no joie de vivre… You have had a pitiable experience.
Understatement of the year!
Hedonistic existential self-knowledge through suffering…
What you said seemed to shed a new light
upon everything in my whole life.
Blind priestly righteousness, why, you are almost shocked.
Not guts enough to be really shocked. Whose fault?
You are speaking of unprincipled conditions.
And then I realised you were only machine made. Yes.
We two do not understand one another. Obviously.
I am here, fighting with ghosts both without and within me.
This is a found text using Sylvia Plath’s annotations in her copy of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts.
Cathleen Allyn Conway is a creative writing PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the managing editor of Plath Profiles, the only academic journal dedicated to the work of Sylvia Plath, and the founding editor of poetry webzine Thank You For Swallowing. Her pamphlet Static Cling is available from Dancing Girl Press. She lives in London with her partner and son.