Desmond Painter. Die Freuds van Londen

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

Pas voor die uitbreek van die oorlog in 1939 verlaat Sigmund Freud en sy gesin Wenen om hulle in Londen te gaan vestig. Freud was sy lewe lank versot op Londen, maar hy het sy tuiste om verstaanbare redes teensinnig verlaat. Hy het geweet wat kom: sy eie dood in ‘n ander stad; die brutaliteit van nog ‘n oorlog.

Freud se reaksies op die selfvernietiging van Europa in die jare 1914-1918 en in die aanloop tot 1939 het uitdrukking gevind in van sy mees aangrypende werke: die pragtige opstel ‘Zeitgemässes über Krieg und Tod’ (‘Thoughts for the Times on War and Death’) (1915) en die beroemde boek ‘Das Unbehagen in der Kultur’ (‘Civilization and its discontents’) (1930) is twee goeie voorbeelde.

Freud is kort na die uitbreek van die oorlog in Londen oorlede, en ‘n mens kan vandag nog sy huis en studeerkamer in Hampstead gaan besigtig. Sedertdien is die familie Freud ook eintlik onlosmaakbaar deel van hierdie stad se kulturele lewe. Daar is altyd ‘n Freud in Londen besig om iets interessant te maak of te doen! Sigmund Freud se kleinseun, Lucien Freud, is bv. ook ‘n Londenaar en een van die wêreld se beroemdste en mees bewonderde eietydse beeldende kunstenaars. En nou is daar ook Annie Freud…

Annie Freud

Annie Freud

Annie Freud is Lucien Freud se dogter, en het onlangs as digter gedebuteer. Sy is in 1948 gebore, maar omdat haar eerste bundel (The best man that ever was, Picador) eers in 2007 verskyn het, word sy tereg gereken as ‘n ‘nuwe stem’ in die Britse digkuns. Sy is bekend vir haar openbare optredes, en haar gedigte word beskryf as gespierd en energiek. Sy skryf dikwels karaktergedrewe verse, dikwels in die vorm van monoloë wat handel oor die verhouding tussen man en vrou. Hier is twee van haar verse:

 

The Study of Disease – Annie Freud

He knew her immediately for whom she was;
and she, though aghast at his raincoat,
and the almost sacerdotal manner
of his greeting,
led him up Copenhagen Street
in blazing sunlight,
and spoke of a recent dream she’d had
of pale blue missiles arcing in the sky,
while her heart thudded like
a boot against her ribs.

In a bar they exchanged jokes, one each.
He talked about his work, the study of disease;
that pleased her and she felt a shadow at last
get up and leave her to her own devices.

The snarling badger in the taxidermist’s window,
the women at the bus stop with their shopping
and the bus itself, all seemed suddenly benign.

She sat on his hand throughout the journey;
the conductress did not come to take their fares —
something he remarked on later when
he spread her out in several different ways.
In the lull they talked, drank wine, and ate quails’ eggs —
he watched her crack hers on the wall above the bed.

 

The Symbolic Meaning of Things and Reasons for Not Dying – Annie Freud

I stood at Centre Point, soaked to the skin,
fighting the habits of my filthy mood,
when suddenly, in the street’s ecstatic fugue,
I knew that it was you I had been thinking of,
and with a book about Velasquez in my hands
open at the Old Woman Frying Eggs,
I saw the shadow of her knife curve in her bowl
and the third egg that I will one day fry for you,
ready in her hand, and just today I notice that she’s blind.

I’ll intimate the prospect of a small but steaming pie
on your return from some exploit on the field —
Then, like two reptiles dressed as ordinary modern folk,
we’ll grind down the nutmeg of speculative thought
and with our double entendres, split the air.

And if I should outlive you, would I, in the full
saturation of my grief, for ever breathe verses at your photo?
Or in the tradition of my race, rip my libidinous négligé to shreds
and stock the fridge with all your favourite snacks?
And will I, when I take my final breath,
remember when you asked me to uncross my legs?

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