Poetry is food for the soul, as it allows individuals to express themselves through the written word. This is why there are so many poems about suicide, love, death and just about everything else there can be. Of course, suicidal poems are rather stark and often extremely dark due to the thought of the writer who is penning the material. It might be the poet contemplating suicide or an individual simply writing about suicide from a different perspective, as they are someone who has been left behind by another individual who decided to take their life. There are short suicide poems and famous suicide poems, but all tackle the very issue of taking one’s life and the impact it can have, both on the individual taking their life and the family members.
An excerpt of the poem Exeat by Stevie Smith reads:
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.
This is a poem about suicide and how someone can have it all and then go back down to nothing. It also points out that there is the possibility of something greater in life awaiting the person who is considering suicide. There are many ways to take this suicide poem, but it tackles what an individual might be thinking before they take their own life. While the poem itself discusses more of the thought process involved with the build up of an individual, comparing them to the Roman Empire, everything has a crumbling point.
Even a great poet can think about suicide. However, a great poet is not able to continue doing what he or she loves should they decide to commit suicide. This is exactly why thinking about it, writing it out and simply trying to work past it is so very important. By taking the feelings and thoughts of suicide and converting it into a truly breathtaking and beautiful poem can leave a positive impression for generations to come.
An short but very powerful poem Bag of Mice by Nick Flynn is a memorizing poem that is also incredibly powerful. While the other poems included in this list are segments of the longer poems, this one is short enough to drive home the port in only a few lines. It reads:
I dreamt your suicide note
was scrawled in pencil on a brown paperbag,
& in the bag were six baby mice.
opened into darkness,
from the top down.
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
This is what is considered a suicide note poem. The poem is short and to the point, yet it covers a rather powerful idea and story in the short period of time. This is one of the more famous poems about suicide. It does not take much for someone to dive deep into the idea of suicide and what it is able to do to an individual. The poem also dives into the fact that so many people see others struggling with suicidal thoughts, yet do nothing about it.
They stand there, watching the person suffer, like a mouse trapped in a bag, yet still say nothing or do nothing. All they need to do is step in and it is possible to save the individual from their thoughts, yet the do nothing. Sometimes a person who struggles with suicidal thoughts does not know how to reach out to someone. That is why you need to be courageous and take the first step in order to help a loved one or friend, if you know they are struggling.
A short section from the poem Ballade of a Special Edition by Amy Levy reads:
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.
This is possibly one of the suicide poems that make you cry. What tugs at the heartstrings really varies, depending on the individual and how they take the poem. This talks about an individual who is going through the death of a loved one who has committed suicide. It points to how it not only has killed the person who decided to take their life, but also how it kills the person left behind as they are left to deal with the repercussions of the death.
This is a rather powerful poem by Robert Graves titled Call it a Good Marriage. While the poem itself is rather short, this is a piece of the poem that reads just as powerful as the full one.
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.
This is one of the suicidal thoughts poems that really make someone think. Often times, when someone commits suicide, the common phrase said is “I didn’t even know anything was wrong.” Far too many people put on a show and a face so the rest of the world does not think that anything is wrong. However, on the inside, their lives might be a completely mess and disaster. This is why not only should close friends be around for one another, but people suffering through such issues need to know they have people around who will never judge them, regardless of what the situation is or what is causing the thought.
Lastly, a poem regarding suicide and the thought of taking one’s life by Carolyn Kizer is Days of 1986. A piece of the poem includes:
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…
It continues on to come to a close with the following section:
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.
Poems about suicidal thoughts are rather common, and there are as many poems about this topic as almost any other topic out there. After all, this is a thought process that does pop into many people’s heads, and as poets often focus on their emotions when writing poetry, they are often going to write about this very subject matter. This is another poem where it points out there appearances are not always what they seem and that some people are often hiding something deep down, away from the rest of the world.
Everyone has secrets, however some people’s secrets are much more damaging and life changing. This is a secret that, should anyone suffer from, it is important that they share the thought and secret with a close loved one. Nobody is ever going to judge someone else for thinking this, but it can be the difference between life and death.
There are many different kinds of poems out there. Poetry is a way for the heart to express itself, which is why so many poets take to this method in order to share their feelings and ideas on the notion of suicide. Whether they are just thinking of these thoughts or have actually gone through the motions, it is a powerful message. Whether the poem focuses on the inner thought of the individual who is considering taking their own life or from the angle of someone who witnesses a person struggling with suicidal thoughts, these poems can make a lasting difference in those who ream the test.