Five Thirty-Minute Sessions

‘Ultimately, and precisely in the deepest and most important matters, we are unspeakably alone; and many things must happen, many things must go right, a whole constellation of events must be fulfilled, for one human being to successfully advise or help another.’

Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell

… in person with someone else, or by phone with me? 
Phone, please: you can’t commit to one time or place.
You’re taking positive steps now. Relief! And yes
it looks like you are and then that marker slips
behind sun-blocking trees as you have to walk on.
No, you’re taking positive steps. Write it all down:
one thing on one side, the other on the other
until each proliferates: two jig-sawing trees 
joined at the roots, the subterranean nub.


Picture somewhere you love. A wood. Who’s there,
with you in the wood? Who has been there before
so often. Who wants to be there most?
But what do you want? The trees. 
No trees. The trees. No trees. The trees.


It isn’t about advice, but finding your own way.
After this, we have two more sessions.
                                                                     What will you do? 
You don’t know and can’t and begin to explain.
That’s 30 minutes over again.
And today I want to leave you with this….


Who is she? This isn’t why you’re here. She’s a voice,
just a voice, as you stare into hedges yards from the house.
She is hedges and walls and sky and a voice.
because of course this can’t go on. It does and can’t.
Go away on your own. You don’t know anywhere else.


The trees are still and thick with maturation. Write it down.
A gap – and hills hide the horizon. Write it down.
The ground is bare patches, dust-bathing birds. Write it down.
Does where you go reveal who you are? Write it down.
Tomorrow is today is yesterday and won’t be. Write it down.
You tell her this. Write it down.

Rory Waterman

© Rory Waterman, from Sweet Nothings (Carcanet, 2020)

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