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Best Famous Suicide Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Suicide poems. This is a select list of the best famous Suicide poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Suicide poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of suicide poems.

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Emanuel Xavier | |

WALKING WITH ANGELS

 for Lindsay

AIDS
knows the condom wrapped penetration 
of strangers and lovers, deep inside
only a tear away from risk

knows bare minimum t-cell level counts, 
replacing intoxicating cocktails
with jagged little pills

knows how to avoid a cure thanks to war
how to keep pharmaceutical corporations
and doctors in business

AIDS
knows the weight loss desired 
by supermodels,
knows the fearless meaning of a friends genuine kiss or hug
converts non-believers to religion 
and spirituality

comprehends loneliness
values the support of luminaries
smiles at the solidarity 
of single red ribbons

knows to dim the lights 
to elude detection
how to shame someone into hiding
from the rest of the world
to be grateful for the gift of clothing 
and shelter,
to remain silent, holding back the anger and frustration

AIDS
knows that time on earth 
is limited for all of us
that using lemons to make lemonade is better than drinking the Kool-Aid
but no matter how much you drink
you are always left dehydrated

knows working extensive hours
to pay hospital bills, 
the choice of survival
or taking pleasure in what is left of life

knows the solid white walls
you want to crash through 
and tear down
the thoughts of suicide 
in the back of your head

AIDS
knows the prosperous could be doing more with their wealth
and that everyone still thinks it is a deserving fate- for gays,
drug addicts, prostitutes, 
and the unfortunate children of such
born into a merciless world of posh handbags and designer jewelry

knows how to be used as another percentage to profit politicians
knows it doesn’t only affect humans 
but animals too, without bias
-providing fodder for art and something to be left behind

if there is a God
he has disregarded our prayers
left his angels behind to journey along with us
-none of us knowing exactly 
where we are headed


by John Greenleaf Whittier | |

A Word for the Hour

 The firmament breaks up.
In black eclipse Light after light goes out.
One evil star, Luridly glaring through the smoke of war, As in the dream of the Apocalypse, Drags others down.
Let us not weakly weep Nor rashly threaten.
Give us grace to keep Our faith and patience; wherefore should we leap On one hand into fratricidal fight, Or, on the other, yield eternal right, Frame lies of laws, and good and ill confound? What fear we? Safe on freedom's vantage ground Our feet are planted; let us there remain In unrevengeful calm, no means untried Which truth can sanction, no just claim denied, The sad spectators of a suicide! They break the lines of Union: shall we light The fires of hell to weld anew the chain On that red anvil where each blow is pain? Draw we not even now a freer breath, As from our shoulders falls a load of death Loathsome as that the Tuscan's victim bore When keen with life to a dead horror bound? Why take we up the accursed thing again? Pity, forgive, but urge them back no more Who, drunk with passion, flaunt disunion's rag With its vile reptile blazon.
Let us press The golden cluster on our brave old flag In closer union, and, if numbering less, Brighter shall shine the stars which still remain.


by James Wright | |

In Response To A Rumor That The Oldest Whorehouse In Wheeling West Virginia Has Been Condemned

 I will grieve alone,
As I strolled alone, years ago, down along
The Ohio shore.
I hid in the hobo jungle weeds Upstream from the sewer main, Pondering, gazing.
I saw, down river, At Twenty-third and Water Streets By the vinegar works, The doors open in early evening.
Swinging their purses, the women Poured down the long street to the river And into the river.
I do not know how it was They could drown every evening.
What time near dawn did they climb up the other shore, Drying their wings? For the river at Wheeling, West Virginia, Has only two shores: The one in hell, the other In Bridgeport, Ohio.
And nobody would commit suicide, only To find beyond death Bridgeport, Ohio.


More great poems below...

by Lisa Zaran | |

Leaves

 I went looking for God 
but I found you instead.
Bad luck or destiny, you decide.
Buried in the muck, the soot of the city, sorrow for an appetite, devil on your left shoulder, angel on your right.
You, with your thorny rhythms and tragic, midnight melodies.
My heart never tried to commit suicide before.
Originally published in Literati Magazine, Winter 2005 Copyright © Lisa Zaran, 2005


by Lisa Zaran | |

Love Is Believable

 love is believable 
in every moment of exhaustion 
in every heartbroken home 
in every dark spirit, 
the meaning unfolds.
.
.
.
.
.
in every night that sings of tomorrow.
in every suicide i carry deep inside my head.
in every lonely smile that plays across my lips.
love is believable i tell you, in every scrap of history, in every sheen of want.
what can be wrong that some days i have a tough time believing.
and in each chamber of my heart i pray.
Copyright © Lisa Zaran, 2006


by Robert William Service | |

A Song Of Suicide

 Deeming that I were better dead,
"How shall I kill myself?" I said.
Thus mooning by the river Seine I sought extinction without pain, When on a bridge I saw a flash Of lingerie and heard a splash .
.
.
So as I am a swimmer stout I plunged and pulled the poor wretch out.
The female that I saved? Ah yes, To yield the Morgue of one corpse the less, Apart from all heroic action, Gave me a moral satisfaction.
was she an old and withered hag, Too tired of life to long to lag? Ah no, she was so young and fair I fell in love with her right there.
And when she took me to her attic Her gratitude was most emphatic.
A sweet and simple girl she proved, Distraught because the man she loved In battle his life-blood had shed .
.
.
So I, too, told her of my dead, The girl who in a garret grey Had coughed and coughed her life away.
Thus as we sought our griefs to smother, With kisses we consoled each other .
.
.
And there's the ending of my story; It wasn't grim, it wasn't gory.
For comforted were hearts forlorn, And from black sorrow joy was born: So may our dead dears be forgiving, And bless the rapture of the living.


by Robert William Service | |

My Suicide

 I've often wondered why
Old chaps who choose to die
In evil passes,
Before themselves they slay,
Invariably they
Take off their glasses?

As I strolled by the Castle cliff
An oldish chap I set my eyes on,
Who stood so singularly stiff
And stark against the blue horizon;
A poet fashioning a sonnet,
I thought - how rapt he labours on it!

And then I blinked and stood astare,
And questioned at my sight condition,
For I was seeing empty air -
He must have been an apparition.
Amazed I gazed .
.
.
no one was there: My sanity roused my suspicion.
I strode to where I saw him stand So solitary in the sun - Nothing! just empty sew and land, no smallest sign of anyone.
While down below I heard the roar Of waves, five hundred feet or more.
I had been drinking, I confess; There was confusion in my brain, And I was feeling more or less The fumes of overnight champagne.
So standing on that dizzy shelf: "You saw no one," I told myself.
"No need to call the local law, For after all its not your business.
You just imagined what you saw .
.
.
" Then I was seized with sudden dizziness: For at my feet, beyond denying, A pair of spectacles were lying.
And so I simply let them lie, And sped from that accursed spot.
No lover of the police am I, And sooner would be drunk than not.
"I'll scram," said I, "and leave the locals To find and trace them dam bi-focals.
"


by James Tate | |

Success Comes To Cow Creek

 I sit on the tracks,
a hundred feet from
earth, fifty from the
water.
Gerald is inching toward me as grim, slow, and determined as a season, because he has no trade and wants none.
It's been nine months since I last listened to his fate, but I know what he will say: he's the fire hydrant of the underdog.
When he reaches my point above the creek, he sits down without salutation, and spits profoundly out past the edge, and peeks for meaning in the ripple it brings.
He scowls.
He speaks: when you walk down any street you see nothing but coagulations of shit and vomit, and I'm sick of it.
I suggest suicide; he prefers murder, and spits again for the sake of all the great devout losers.
A conductor's horn concerto breaks the air, and we, two doomed pennies on the track, shove off and somersault like anesthetized fleas, ruffling the ideal locomotive poised on the water with our light, dry bodies.
Gerald shouts terrifically as he sails downstream like a young man with a destination.
I swim toward shore as fast as my boots will allow; as always, neglecting to drown.


by Edward Taylor | |

Success Comes To Cow Creek

 I sit on the tracks,
a hundred feet from
earth, fifty from the
water.
Gerald is inching toward me as grim, slow, and determined as a season, because he has no trade and wants none.
It's been nine months since I last listened to his fate, but I know what he will say: he's the fire hydrant of the underdog.
When he reaches my point above the creek, he sits down without salutation, and spits profoundly out past the edge, and peeks for meaning in the ripple it brings.
He scowls.
He speaks: when you walk down any street you see nothing but coagulations of shit and vomit, and I'm sick of it.
I suggest suicide; he prefers murder, and spits again for the sake of all the great devout losers.
A conductor's horn concerto breaks the air, and we, two doomed pennies on the track, shove off and somersault like anesthetized fleas, ruffling the ideal locomotive poised on the water with our light, dry bodies.
Gerald shouts terrifically as he sails downstream like a young man with a destination.
I swim toward shore as fast as my boots will allow; as always, neglecting to drown.


by G K Chesterton | |

A Ballad Of Suicide

 The gallows in my garden, people say,

Is new and neat and adequately tall; 
I tie the noose on in a knowing way

As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours—on the wall— 
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"

The strangest whim has seized me.
.
.
.
After all I think I will not hang myself to-day.
To-morrow is the time I get my pay— My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall— I see a little cloud all pink and grey— Perhaps the rector's mother will not call— I fancy that I heard from Mr.
Gall That mushrooms could be cooked another way— I never read the works of Juvenal— I think I will not hang myself to-day.
The world will have another washing-day; The decadents decay; the pedants pall; And H.
G.
Wells has found that children play, And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall, Rationalists are growing rational— And through thick woods one finds a stream astray So secret that the very sky seems small— I think I will not hang myself to-day.
ENVOI Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal, The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way; Even to-day your royal head may fall, I think I will not hang myself to-day


by Carolyn Kizer | |

Days of 1986

 He was believed by his peers to be an important poet,
But his erotic obsession, condemned and strictly forbidden,
Compromised his standing, and led to his ruin.
Over sixty, and a father many times over, The objects of his attention grew younger and younger: He tried to corrupt the sons of his dearest friends; He pressed on them drinks and drugs, And of course he was caught and publicly shamed.
Was his death a suicide? No one is sure.
But that’s not the whole story; it’s too sordid to tell.
Besides, the memory of his poems deserves better.
Though we were unable to look at them for a time His poems survive his death.
There he appears as his finest self: Attractive, scholarly, dedicated to love.
At last we can read him again, putting aside The brute facts of his outer life, And rejoice at the inner voice, so lofty and pure.


by Amy Levy | |

Ballade of a Special Edition

 He comes; I hear him up the street--
Bird of ill omen, flapping wide
The pinion of a printed sheet,
His hoarse note scares the eventide.
Of slaughter, theft, and suicide He is the herald and the friend; Now he vociferates with pride-- A double murder in Mile End! A hanging to his soul is sweet; His gloating fancy's fain to bide Where human-freighted vessels meet, And misdirected trains collide.
With Shocking Accidents supplied, He tramps the town from end to end.
How often have we heard it cried-- A double murder in Mile End.
War loves he; victory or defeat, So there be loss on either side.
His tale of horrors incomplete, Imagination's aid is tried.
Since no distinguished man has died, And since the Fates, relenting, send No great catastrophe, he's spied This double murder in Mile End.
Fiend, get thee gone! no more repeat Those sounds which do mine ears offend.
It is apocryphal, you cheat, Your double murder in Mile End.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Suicide In The Trenches

 I knew a simple soldier boy 
Who grinned at life in empty joy, 
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, 
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum, With crumps and lice and lack of rum, He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you'll never know The hell where youth and laughter go.


by Anne Sexton | |

The Doctor Of The Heart

 Take away your knowledge, Doktor.
It doesn't butter me up.
You say my heart is sick unto.
You ought to have more respect! you with the goo on the suction cup.
You with your wires and electrodes fastened at my ankle and wrist, sucking up the biological breast.
You with your zigzag machine playing like the stock market up and down.
Give me the Phi Beta key you always twirl and I will make a gold crown for my molar.
I will take a slug if you please and make myself a perfectly good appendix.
Give me a fingernail for an eyeglass.
The world was milky all along.
I will take an iron and press out my slipped disk until it is flat.
But take away my mother's carcinoma for I have only one cup of fetus tears.
Take away my father's cerebral hemorrhage for I have only a jigger of blood in my hand.
Take away my sister's broken neck for I have only my schoolroom ruler for a cure.
Is there such a device for my heart? I have only a gimmick called magic fingers.
Let me dilate like a bad debt.
Here is a sponge.
I can squeeze it myself.
O heart, tobacco red heart, beat like a rock guitar.
I am at the ship's prow.
I am no longer the suicide with her raft and paddle.
Herr Doktor! I'll no longer die to spite you, you wallowing seasick grounded man.


by Anne Sexton | |

Oh

 It is snowing and death bugs me
as stubborn as insomnia.
The fierce bubbles of chalk, the little white lesions settle on the street outside.
It is snowing and the ninety year old woman who was combing out her long white wraith hair is gone, embalmed even now, even tonight her arms are smooth muskets at her side and nothing issues from her but her last word - "Oh.
" Surprised by death.
It is snowing.
Paper spots are falling from the punch.
Hello? Mrs.
Death is here! She suffers according to the digits of my hate.
I hear the filaments of alabaster.
I would lie down with them and lift my madness off like a wig.
I would lie outside in a room of wool and let the snow cover me.
Paris white or flake white or argentine, all in the washbasin of my mouth, calling, "Oh.
" I am empty.
I am witless.
Death is here.
There is no other settlement.
Snow! See the mark, the pock, the pock! Meanwhile you pour tea with your handsome gentle hands.
Then you deliberately take your forefinger and point it at my temple, saying, "You suicide bitch! I'd like to take a corkscrew and screw out all your brains and you'd never be back ever.
" And I close my eyes over the steaming tea and see God opening His teeth.
"Oh.
" He says.
I see the child in me writing, "Oh.
" Oh, my dear, not why.


by Stevie Smith | |

Exeat

 I remember the Roman Emperor, one of the cruellest of them,
Who used to visit for pleasure his poor prisoners cramped in dungeons,
So then they would beg him for death, and then he would say:
Oh no, oh no, we are not yet friends enough.
He meant they were not yet friends enough for him to give them death.
So I fancy my Muse says, when I wish to die: Oh no, Oh no, we are not yet friends enough, And Virtue also says: We are not yet friends enough.
How can a poet commit suicide When he is still not listening properly to his Muse, Or a lover of Virtue when He is always putting her off until tomorrow? Yet a time may come when a poet or any person Having a long life behind him, pleasure and sorrow, But feeble now and expensive to his country And on the point of no longer being able to make a decision May fancy Life comes to him with love and says: We are friends enough now for me to give you death; Then he may commit suicide, then He may go.


by Dorothy Parker | |

Rhyme Against Living

 If wild my breast and sore my pride,
I bask in dreams of suicide;
If cool my heart and high my head,
I think, "How lucky are the dead!"


by Nick Flynn | |

Bag Of Mice

 I dreamt your suicide note
was scrawled in pencil on a brown paperbag,
& in the bag were six baby mice.
The bag opened into darkness, smoldering from the top down.
The mice, huddled at the bottom, scurried the bag across a shorn field.
I stood over it & as the burning reached each carbon letter of what you'd written your voice released into the night like a song, & the mice grew wilder.


by Nick Flynn | |

You Asked How (formerly Even Now She Is Turning Saying Everything I Always Wanted Her to Say)

 At the end there were straws
in her glove compartment, I'd split them open
to taste the familiar bitter residue, near the end
I ate all her Percodans, hungry to know
how far they could take me.
A bottle of red wine each night moved her along as she wrote, I feel too much, again and again.
You asked how and I said, Suicide, and you asked how and I said, An overdose, and then she shot herself, and your eyes filled with wonder, so I added, In the chest, so you wouldn't think her face was gone, and it mattered, somehow, that you knew this.
.
.
Every year I'm eight years old and the world is no longer safe.
Our phone becomes unlisted, our mail is kept in a box at the post office, and my mother tells me always leave a light on so it seems someone is home.
She finds a cop for her next boyfriend, his hair greasy, pushed back with his fingers.
He lets me play with his service revolver while they kiss on the couch.
Cars slowly fill the windows, and I aim, making the noise with my mouth, in case it's them, and when his back is hunched over her I aim between his shoulder blades, silently, in case it's him.


by Jorie Graham | |

Salmon

 I watched them once, at dusk, on television, run,
in our motel room half-way through
Nebraska, quick, glittering, past beauty, past
the importance of beauty.
, archaic, not even hungry, not even endangered, driving deeper and deeper into less.
They leapt up falls, ladders, and rock, tearing and leaping, a gold river, and a blue river traveling in opposite directions.
They would not stop, resolution of will and helplessness, as the eye is helpless when the image forms itself, upside-down, backward, driving up into the mind, and the world unfastens itself from the deep ocean of the given.
.
.
Justice, aspen leaves, mother attempting suicide, the white night-flying moth the ants dismantled bit by bit and carried in right through the crack in my wall.
.
.
.
How helpless the still pool is, upstream, awaiting the gold blade of their hurry.
Once, indoors, a child, I watched, at noon, through slatted wooden blinds, a man and woman, naked, eyes closed, climb onto each other, on the terrace floor, and ride--two gold currents wrapping round and round each other, fastening, unfastening.
I hardly knew what I saw.
Whatever shadow there was in that world it was the one each cast onto the other, the thin black seam they seemed to be trying to work away between them.
I held my breath.
as far as I could tell, the work they did with sweat and light was good.
I'd say they traveled far in opposite directions.
What is the light at the end of the day, deep, reddish-gold, bathing the walls, the corridors, light that is no longer light, no longer clarifies, illuminates, antique, freed from the body of that air that carries it.
What is it for the space of time where it is useless, merely beautiful? When they were done, they made a distance one from the other and slept, outstretched, on the warm tile of the terrace floor, smiling, faces pressed against the stone.


by Robert Graves | |

Call It a Good Marriage

 Call it a good marriage - 
For no one ever questioned 
Her warmth, his masculinity,
Their interlocking views;
Except one stray graphologist
Who frowned in speculation 
At her h's and her s's, 
His p's and w's.
Though few would still subscribe To the monogamic axiom That strife below the hip-bones Need not estrange the heart, Call it a good marriage: More drew those two together, Despite a lack of children, Than pulled them apart.
Call it a good marriage: They never fought in public, They acted circumspectly And faced the world with pride; Thus the hazards of their love-bed Were none of our damned business - Till as jurymen we sat on Two deaths by suicide.


by Richard Brautigan | |

Less Time

 Less time than it takes to say it, less tears than it takes to die; I've taken account
of everything, there you have it.
I've made a census of the stones, they are as numerous as my fingers and some others; I've distributed some pamphelts to the plants, but not all were willing to accpet them.
I've kept company with music for a second only and now I no longer know what to think of suicide, for if I ever want to part from myself, the exit is on this side and, I add mischievously, the entrance, the re-entrance is on the other.
You see what you still have to do.
Hours, grief, I don't keep a reasonable account of them; I'm alone, I look out of the window; there is no passerby, or rather no one passes (underline passes).
You don't know this man? It's Mr.
Same.
May I introduce Madam Madam? And their children.
Then I turn back on my steps, my steps turn back too, but I don't know exactly what they turn back on.
I consult a schedule; the names of the towns have been replaced by the names of people who have been quite close to me.
Shall I go to A, return to B, change at X? Yes, of course I'll change at X.
Provided I don't miss the connection with boredom! There we are: boredom, beautiful parallels, ah! how beautiful the parallels are under God's perpendicular.


by Andre Breton | |

Less Time

 Less time than it takes to say it, less tears than it takes to die; I've taken account of everything,
there you have it.
I've made a census of the stones, they are as numerous as my fingers and some others; I've distributed some pamphlets to the plants, but not all were willing to accept them.
I've kept company with music for a second only and now I no longer know what to think of suicide, for if I ever want to part from myself, the exit is on this side and, I add mischievously, the entrance, the re-entrance is on the other.
You see what you still have to do.
Hours, grief, I don't keep a reasonable account of them; I'm alone, I look out of the window; there is no passerby, or rather no one passes (underline passes).
You don't know this man? It's Mr.
Same.
May I introduce Madam Madam? And their children.
Then I turn back on my steps, my steps turn back too, but I don't know exactly what they turn back on.
I consult a schedule; the names of the towns have been replaced by the names of people who have been quite close to me.
Shall I go to A, return to B, change at X? Yes, of course I'll change at X.
Provided I don't miss the connection with boredom! There we are: boredom, beautiful parallels, ah! how beautiful the parallels are under God's perpendicular.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Show Biz

 I can't have it
and you can't have it
and we won't
get it

so don't bet on it
or even think about
it

just get out of bed
each morning

wash
shave
clothe
yourself
and go out into
it

because
outside of that
all that's left is
suicide and
madness

so you just
can't
expect too much

you can't even
expect

so what you do
is
work from a modest
minimal
base

like when you
walk outside
be glad your car
might possibly
be there

and if it is-
that the tires
aren't
flat

then you get
in
and if it
starts--you
start.
and it's the damndest movie you've ever seen because you're in it-- low budget and 4 billion critics and the longest run you ever hope for is one day.


by Charles Bukowski | |

The Icecream People

 the lady has me temporarily off the bottle
and now the pecker stands up
better.
however, things change overnight-- instead of listening to Shostakovich and Mozart through a smeared haze of smoke the nights change, new complexities: we drive to Baskin-Robbins, 31 flavors: Rocky Road, Bubble Gum, Apricot Ice, Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Mint.
.
.
we park outside and look at icecream people a very healthy and satisfied people, nary a potential suicide in sight (they probably even vote) and I tell her "what if the boys saw me go in there? suppose they find out I'm going in for a walnut peach sundae?" "come on, chicken," she laughs and we go in and stand with the icecream people.
none of them are cursing or threatening the clerks.
there seem to be no hangovers or grievances.
I am alarmed at the placid and calm wave that flows about.
I feel like a leper in a beauty contest.
we finally get our sundaes and sit in the car and eat them.
I must admit they are quite good.
a curious new world.
(all my friends tell me I am looking better.
"you're looking good, man, we thought you were going to die there for a while.
.
.
") --those 4,500 dark nights, the jails, the hospitals.
.
.
and later that night there is use for the pecker, use for love, and it is glorious, long and true, and afterwards we speak of easy things; our heads by the open window with the moonlight looking through, we sleep in each other's arms.
the icecream people make me feel good, inside and out.