Through readings of several poems, the essay considers endings in poetry and psychoanalysis as processes of a change of state, a compressed phase in which consciousness transforms as one begins to comprehend the shift from a sense of infinite time to finite. With the recognition of death and loss, one can open up a wider consciousness of what it means to be human. Within this internal change of state, recognition of transience—of time as limited and oneself as mortal—and an intensity of aliveness and beauty can occur. This transformation is part of what allows one to end analysis and of what may be gained by ending. Involving both a fading of omnipotence and an acceptance of mortality, the reality of ending an analysis offers the opportunity to consolidate and deepen the perspective of the depressive position. As a poem does, psychoanalysis moves in both lyric and narrative time. Through both its form and content, endings in poetry can further our experience and recognition of transience.


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pp. 607-632
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