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Session 5

by NinaLara 

Posted: 04 September 2006
Word Count: 115
Related Works: Session 1 • Session 2 • Session 3 • Session 4 • 

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She writes
her missing pages
in the mist on a windowpane

allowing both of us to read
her whole story
for the first time:

hot snakes
dragging through
the pelvis

and morphine
releasing her body
to warmth
once everything had been removed.

The blue light shed by the rain
sharpens her face.

We know why she can’t let go:
it is revenge she wants

for waking daily
with memories too big
for her to hold

her womb too gaping
for the largest
opiate bag to fill.

“I imagine
private detectives watching him,
reporting every detail to me
in manilla envelopes.

I am moving in on his life,
closing round like a python.

Making him know”

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Comments by other Members

R-Poet at 16:00 on 04 September 2006  Report this post
A remarkable piece. (I have deliberately read it stand-alone, without looking at the other Sessions.)

Strong imagery - the "hot snakes" verse is very powerful. A difficult subject, yet so well communicated.

joanie at 13:05 on 05 September 2006  Report this post
Nina, this is very powerful. I keep re-reading and finding a new slant and new thoughts. I have quickly read through the other 'Sessions' but I am going to read them all thoroughly brfore I comment further.

Am I right in thinking that this is the last one?


NinaLara at 17:30 on 05 September 2006  Report this post
Thanks R-Poet and Joanie. I'm glad you like the hot snakes R-poet. There are 6 sessions in all Joanie, which I believe is the standard NHS allowance!

joanie at 18:05 on 05 September 2006  Report this post
I'll wait for the 6th then! Brilliant!


Tina at 17:53 on 06 September 2006  Report this post
HI Nina

I have read all five of these and re-read them singly and as a thread of thought. This poem has some very vivid images - striking at the reader as if there is an intention to inflict a scar - thus you portray the pain and hurt and anger very well. I particularly like:

it is revenge she wants

for waking daily
with memories too big
for her to hold


I imagine
private detectives watching him,
reporting every detail to me
in manilla envelopes

Anger and shame expressed very forcefully - great stuff.

Reading all the works there is such a sense of chaos in each one which is heightened as they are dissimilar except for the subject matter.I look forward to number 6!

with thanks

NinaLara at 18:53 on 06 September 2006  Report this post
Dear Tina -

Thank you for reading all 5! I'm never sure where each one will take me ... so i'm looking forward to number 6 too.

James Graham at 20:48 on 06 September 2006  Report this post
Hi Nina - I'm reading all the poems as a sequence, and will post a comment soon.


James Graham at 14:21 on 08 September 2006  Report this post
Hi Nina - it's taken me a while, but I wanted to read the earlier poems again and try to form some thoughts on them as well as on 'Session 5'.

Reading all the previous poems in the sequence again, I'm just as impressed by the number of short, cogent lines and pairs of lines that contain insights of various kinds. By their very nature the poems are about someone trying to make sense out of chaotic and traumatic feelings, but these lines have the effect, every so often, of crystallising something. Sometimes it's part of the truth - or at least, what seems to be the truth at one moment - about this woman's life: 'Two gentle, solid men dissolve.' Sometimes it's an insight into the therapy situation she is in: that moment when 'Outside mingles with her' as she leaves the first session seems to reveal how little the therapist, or anyone else, sees or will ever see into this woman's soul. There's the insight we get from her excursion into the game of 'making a film' in which all the bad stuff will be edited out; the lines at the end of that, 'a sunset rainbow/ stretches the happy ever/ we gallop after' reveal her sense of the absurdity of this ploy. There are lots more, including all the cameos of her appearance and behaviour - 'Shadows cut/ arcs round her eyes' and 'Dark brows tug her face,/ drained by love'. As I say, there are haywire feelings going on through the sequence; but these lines are moments of solid insight, like stepping stones.

On a kind of broader view I can see the sequence going through phases. The first session captures the atmosphere of a first session, the woman nervously rabbiting on about 'the man of my dreams' and 'I'll never be the apple of an eye again', the real stuff only touched on and not much progress made. Then after she has relived the moment of 'being told', the next session is very different, tense and difficult. Session 3 contains her most coherent 'story' so far - but in it the feelings aren't yet unpicked. The 'director's job' episode is very interesting - maybe it represents a form of psychological therapy that I don't know about, but as far as the poems are concerned this deliberate inversion of her story into a fairy tale seems to me a kind of turning point. After that, through Sessions 4 and 5, the 'whole story' begins to emerge, and there seems to be a change in her state of mind - she seems to gather strength, and a productive anger.

In 'Session 5' the image of writing 'her missing pages/ in the mist on the window' (pane rather than frame?) produces a real 'wow' effect, because we remember (or should, if we're paying attention!) the lines 'I hate regret -/ hooked to a window'. Put those two images together and sparks fly everywhere. The earlier window represents the most awful moment in her story; now by metaphorically writing on a window she is going straight to one of the pain centres and somehow drawing strength from it.

The snake images are just as powerful - because there are two of them. The malevolent, hurting 'hot snakes/ dragging through/ her pelvis' mutate into an attacking python. To use an image in that way and then use a variation on it is a good poetic strategy. I like this python a lot. I like the impulse it represents. Since time immemorial men have been saying 'I'll go, it's best', fleeing the battlefield, avoiding consequences. 'Make him know'...I find myself thinking, 'Yes. If you can, you must make him know.'


NinaLara at 08:45 on 12 September 2006  Report this post
Thank you for re-reading all the poems James ... I am glad they are working as a series. I guess they will all need some editing when I've finished, but at least it is a story and it has a direction!


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