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Session 1

by NinaLara 

Posted: 24 March 2006
Word Count: 150
Summary: Recent unfinished poem

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ĎItís not exactly Freudís couch.í
she leans the NHS chair,
soupy eyes brimmed with exotica.

Where will this take me?

ĎIíve just one story to tell
then itíll all all be all right,í
she breathes, ĎYears ago
I met the man of my dreams.
Heís back - I googled him.
What persuaded me?
The angst !
Knowing his eyes
Can leak from the screen any time.í

A rare sun drop yellows her,
warming a sterile wall.

ĎIt hit me by a high window -
I was the Other woman.
The vertigo stayed when
He left
just before Father died.

Two gentle, solid men dissolve.

So thereís my tale.
Iíll never be the apple of an eye again -
Just the bags and wrinkles!
I guess you get a lot of this.í

Her feet squeak on the lino
as she thanks and leaves.
Outside mingles with her
before the door closes.

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Comments by other Members

Anna Reynolds at 14:23 on 24 March 2006  Report this post
Nina, the unusual quality of this really made me think and stop and re-read this several times- I particularly loved 'Outside mingles with her' and 'soupy eyes brimmed with exotica'. Poetry's not my area, but there's something very attractive about the juxtaposition of language here, and the snapshot of the woman.

James Graham at 19:04 on 24 March 2006  Report this post
Nina, this is just to say welcome to the group and thank you for your contributions so far. I'll comment on your poem as soon as I possibly can.


NinaLara at 23:09 on 24 March 2006  Report this post
Thank you for your kind comments Anna.

Slight modification thought:

Feet tweek the lino
as she thanks and leaves.
Outside mingles with her
as the door closes.

R-Poet at 15:42 on 25 March 2006  Report this post
Welcome aboard!

I prefer the original version of the last stanza - both the first and last line.

In particular, "before"/"door" gave a nice rhyme in the last line; introducing "as" results in lines 2 and 4 both starting with the same word.

In stanza 1, line 2, should it be "leans on" or "against" ?


James Graham at 17:19 on 25 March 2006  Report this post
Hi Nina - You tell us at the top of the poem that it's unfinished, which suggests that you would like some responses and maybe some ideas as to where to go next with the poem. But there are lines here that you shouldn't touch at all when you revise.

A rare sun drop yellows her,
warming a sterile wall

is a vivid miniature description, which manages at the same time to comment obliquely on this woman's situation and the surroundings she is in.

Two gentle, solid men dissolve

- no need to analyse this; it's a strong line. These two examples suggest to me - as far as I can tell, having seen only one of your poems so far - that one of your strengths might be conciseness, the ability to write a single line, or two lines, in which a few words are made to do a lot of work. Certainly that applies to these lines I've just quoted.

The closing four lines work in that way too. I don't think you should make that change to 'tweak' the lino. I'm sure you have a reason for it, but to me 'tweak' suggests something done with the hands rather than feet, and also something done deliberately. It was better as it was, maybe changed to 'Her soles squeak on the lino'. That kind of involuntary thing, making some little noise without meaning to, can be embarrassing out of all proportion when you're in a situation which is quite hard to handle anyway - and I think your original line conveys that.

The second last line is maybe the best example of the 'much in little' I was talking about:

Outside mingles with her

- someone who has just had a session with a professional, and revealed the tip of the iceberg of a personal story, seems to merge into the anonymity of the 'outside', seems to blur and fade. This line says a great deal about the place and the situation, and about the professional, who gets 'a lot of this' and has the next patient to think about. Maybe it even says something in general about self and others - about each person being a walking labyrinth of experience, conflict, regrets etc etc, and how little of that anyone else ever sees.

So I'd say these parts of the poem, at least, are finished. That leaves the spoken parts, which I vaguely feel need to be reworked, but I'm not at all clear how it should be done. The woman seems to make light of her story ('I met the man of my dreams'; 'I'll never be the apple of an eye again'). She seems to be having second thoughts about having this session at all, and her last words seem to dismiss it - and herself - with a wave of the hand. Is that how you meant it to seem?

I haven't got very far yet on where the poem should go from here, but I'll give this a bit more thought.


NinaLara at 22:04 on 25 March 2006  Report this post
Dear James,

Thank you very much - your comments are very encouraging. I spent the latter half of my twenties just writing Haiku, which is where my need to be concise originates. I have been trying to 'expand' my work a little in the last few years!!

It is very interesting what you say about the dialogue - this is the part of the poem that came first ... the voice I heard (and, indeed, she is trying to make light of the situation/ feeling uncomfortable/ wants to leave) However, as you say, the strongest parts of the poem are my attempt to 'see' the session. There are further 'sessions' in the pipeline and I wonder whether the spoken voice is just a stepping stone to something else.



Tina at 08:25 on 26 March 2006  Report this post
Hi Nina
Welcome to group 1

I liked your poem a lot - a subject matter that is not easy to write about with out sentimentality or anger /angst and you have captured a lot of moments here - almost time within time.

I would echo James - as my favourite lines were also :

Two gentle, solid men dissolve (and)
Outside mingles with her

but I also liked
The vertigo stayed when
He left

Having tried to write about such a meeting/ experience myself I know how difficult it is to say without telling too much. I like the way you have so few personal pronouns - Father rather than my Father - which is very effective in highlighting the 'serile' world of therapy.

I too wonder where you would like this to go ??

James Graham at 16:25 on 26 March 2006  Report this post
Hi Nina - From what you say, I realise (as I should have guessed from the title) that you see this poem as the first of a sequence. This puts the spoken parts in a kind of context - she is saying just the sort of things she might say at a first session, bearing in mind she is uncomfortable and in two minds about it. Probably the best thing to do is move on to Session 2, and see how the two compare. I think it's a very promising idea, to base a series of poems on a series of therapy sessions, and it would be interesting to see how the idea develops.


gard at 21:32 on 26 March 2006  Report this post

welcome to WW. All of the above comments apply. I too like the phrase and imagery of

outside mingles with her


So thereís my tale.
Iíll never be the apple of an eye again -
Just the bags and wrinkles!
I guess you get a lot of this.í

(do you need the apostrophe there?) esp the last line.

I was not sure about "soupy eyes brimmed with exotica" seemed a bit flamboyant for the earthiness fo the rest of the poem and my tongue tripped over soupy ..but thats just my opinion/tastes..

very interesting write and I do think you could make it a series as suggested.


NinaLara at 18:56 on 27 March 2006  Report this post
Thanks G

I'm not sure about soupy eyes .. exotica, either (although Anna seemed to like it!) I left it in as a reminder about Freud's consulting room - full of antiques and architypes collected from all parts of the world. His couch was covered in lavish Persian rugs. At the moment I'm really trying to think through why he thought these surrounding were so important for psychoanalysis. So .. I've left this line in as a bit of a reminder to myself to keep thinking .... I suspect it may change or move to another poem.

Brian Aird at 09:31 on 28 March 2006  Report this post
We're on the couch and uncertain where honesty will lead; yet the compulsion to explain is irresistable. The reader wonders how 'exotica' fits in to this dialogue. Then at the end the whistfulness of "Iíll never be the apple of an eye again - Just the bags and wrinkles! - makes it clear" Its a tale about loss and growing old, whilst yearning still survives, but its told with the most gorgeously vivid images.

I enjoyed this....is there another session?


NinaLara at 09:45 on 28 March 2006  Report this post
Yes - lots .... I'm working our which one should come next.

steve_laycock at 20:49 on 29 March 2006  Report this post
Hi Nina,
I thought I'd read session 1 before embarking on the programme. I really liked it the way it balances between the expressed and the hidden. Poetry is such a powerful medium for this. The dialogue is difficult for the same reason, but a lot of it works for me. I was funny about the google thing, but i'm funny about the internet generally; I really liked
So there's my tale.
I'll never be the apple of an eye again -
Just the bags and wrinkles!
I guess you get a lot of this."

Four lines that sum it up for me. There's the personal, it's her tale - her life - it's tragic, bags and wrinkles is such a sad and lovely way for and old person to describe themselves, full of sorrow, loss but with an upbeat acceptance - and I guess you get a lot of this, concedes the final point that these stories are as common as people. And then just like that: she's gone.

Really lovely

NinaLara at 21:10 on 29 March 2006  Report this post
Thanks Steve and Brian for your comments.

You are the first one to mention the google Steve - it is strange using internet words when they are so unfamilier to poetry. I was tempted by it because images of people can be called up so easily ... without people really thinking about the consequences. When I first went on the Friends Reunited site an old boyfriend contacted me the next day - someone I really didn't want to get in touch with! I felt very out of sorts for a couple of days, until I realised it was only e-mail and he didn't know where I lived. It is a new and interesting way of living ...... there doesn't seem to be a way of 'hiding' anymore.

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