Suicide Note

'You speak to me of narcissism but I reply that it is
a matter of my life' - Artaud

'At this time let me somehow bequeath all the leftovers
to my daughters and their daughters' - Anonymous

Better,
despite the worms talking to
the mare’s hoof in the field;
better,
despite the season of young girls
dropping their blood;
better somehow
to drop myself quickly
into an old room.
Better (someone said)
not to be born
and far better
not to be born twice
at thirteen
where the boardinghouse,
each year a bedroom,
caught fire.

Dear friend,
I will have to sink with hundreds of others
on a dumbwaiter into hell.
I will be a light thing.
I will enter death
like someone’s lost optical lens.
Life is half enlarged.
The fish and owls are fierce today.
Life tilts backward and forward.
Even the wasps cannot find my eyes.

Yes,
eyes that were immediate once.
Eyes that have been truly awake,
eyes that told the whole story—
poor dumb animals.
Eyes that were pierced,
little nail heads,
light blue gunshots.

And once with
a mouth like a cup,
clay colored or blood colored,
open like the breakwater
for the lost ocean
and open like the noose
for the first head.

Once upon a time
my hunger was for Jesus.
O my hunger! My hunger!
Before he grew old
he rode calmly into Jerusalem
in search of death.

This time
I certainly
do not ask for understanding
and yet I hope everyone else
will turn their heads when an unrehearsed fish jumps
on the surface of Echo Lake;
when moonlight,
its bass note turned up loud,
hurts some building in Boston,
when the truly beautiful lie together.
I think of this, surely,
and would think of it far longer
if I were not… if I were not
at that old fire.

I could admit
that I am only a coward
crying me me me
and not mention the little gnats, the moths,
forced by circumstance
to suck on the electric bulb.
But surely you know that everyone has a death,
his own death,
waiting for him.
So I will go now
without old age or disease,
wildly but accurately,
knowing my best route,
carried by that toy donkey I rode all these years,
never asking, “Where are we going?”
We were riding (if I’d only known)
to this.

Dear friend,
please do not think
that I visualize guitars playing
or my father arching his bone.
I do not even expect my mother’s mouth.
I know that I have died before—
once in November, once in June.
How strange to choose June again,
so concrete with its green breasts and bellies.
Of course guitars will not play!
The snakes will certainly not notice.
New York City will not mind.
At night the bats will beat on the trees,
knowing it all,
seeing what they sensed all day.

by Anne Sexton

Comments (3)

Type of a poem
The beauty of the morning. Nice work.
The sonnet’s octave is a minute description of the early morning scene that unfolds before the poet’s eyes; the sestet his reflections on the impact of what is being described. Because of its graphic details the poem manages to be both objective and personal; meaning it is both visually vivid and true to Wordsworth’s feelings, which he enables us to share. As in all great poetry, the soundscape is vital and it is clearly written to be read aloud. The opening three and last two lines describe the impact of the scene; the rest picture in detail on what the poet’s feeling response is based. We are forced to stress ‘Open’(line seven) which is implicitly opposed to concealed; what you see is what you get, and the dancing vowel sounds in ‘ all bright and glittering in the smokeless air’ confirm Wordsworth’s delight in the scene he is silently witnessing. The simile ‘like a garment’ is likewise brilliant, suggesting the closeness of the beauty he describes both to the city and the morning. The repetition of ‘never’and ‘n’er’ again emphasises that impact, and the line, ‘Dear God, the very houses seem asleep’ is an exclamation that seems to escape the poet despite himself. The last line, ‘And all that mighty heart is lying still’ is again tremendous, for we know the city will be waking up shortly and pulsing into life. 8.6/10? You must be joking!