Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Suicide's Room

This poem, by one of my dad's favorite poets, Wisława Szymborska, touches me and helps me cope with Ian's death. It sums up, to some degree, the confusion that I feel. Plus, since I saw his room and where he died, it feels really personal. There are other poems by Szymborska that are also amazing, including the one about a cat which makes me cry.

I'll bet you think the room was empty.
Wrong. There were three chairs with sturdy backs.
A lamp, good for fighting the dark.
A desk, and on the desk a wallet, some newspapers.
A carefree Buddha and a worried Christ.
Seven lucky elephants, a notebook in a drawer.
You think our addresses weren't in it?

No books, no pictures, no records, you guess?
Wrong. A comforting trumpet poised in black hands.
Saskia and her cordial little flower.
Joy the spark of gods.
Odysseus stretched on the shelf in life-giving sleep
after the labors of Book Five.
The moralists with the golden syllables of their names
inscribed on finely tanned spines.
Next to them, the politicians braced their backs.

No way out? But what about the door?
No prospects? The window had other views.
His glasses lay on the windowsill.
And one fly buzzed---that is, was still alive.

You think at least the note could tell us something.
But what if I say there was no note---
and he had so many friends, but all of us fit neatly
inside the empty envelope propped up against a cup.


Morna Crites-Moore said...

This is very touching. I'm glad you find comfort in this poem, and that you honor Ian by posting it to your blog.

Charley Rome said...

I found your site by clicking my tag on "existentialism". I like your poem. Who was Ian? Check out my poem.

I've never lost anyone to suicide, but worked at the local Crisis Intervention Center for a few years. The real victims of suicide are the loved ones left behind. That reason alone is why I would never take my own life. Plus, there is so much to live for!