I am so incredibly excited to have a Virginia Woolf found poem in the Spring 2019 issue of Beloit Poetry Journal! "Her Instinct" is one of my favorites of my found poems actually. In just a few short lines, I think it really sums up just what anxiety and mania feel like--the unsettling agitation of it all.
Here is the paragraph I used to write the poem—it's from The Waves—with the words I picked out in red:
"'There is Susan,' said Louis. 'She does not see us. She has not dressed, because she despises the futility of London. She stands for a moment at the swing-door, looking about her like a creature dazed by the light of a lamp. Now she moves. She has the stealthy yet assured movements (even among tables and chairs) of a wild beast. She seems to find her way by instinct in and out among these little tables, touching no one, disregarding waiters, yet comes straight to our table in the corner. When she sees us (Neville, and myself) her face assumes a certainty which is alarming, as if she had what she wanted. To be loved by Susan would be to be impaled by a bird's sharp beak, to be nailed to a barnyard door. Yet there are moments when I could wish to be speared by a beak, to be nailed to a barnyard door, positively, once and for all."