‘Don’t kill yourself today‘ rose to popularity through the platform Wattpad, a source for songs, poetry, and storytelling. There, a wide variety of readers connected to its message and the contemporary way Dains explores suicide. Since phrases related to ‘Don’t kill yourself today,’ like “My Netflix subscription has run out,” have been shared across other platforms as a way of signaling that someone is thinking about suicide. This coded request for help is recognized and answered by a supportive community.
Explore Don’t kill yourself today
‘Don’t kill yourself today’ by Hannah Dains is a powerful poem about suicide and why one should live to see the next day.
In the first lines of this piece, the poet provides readers with a variety of reasons not to kill themselves. These are simple and direct. They aren’t life-changing or philosophically powerful. But, they are concrete. One adds onto the next, and eventually, or hopefully, someone contemplating suicide makes it to the point where they want to stay alive because they’re excited about the next day. The speaker also makes sure to tell the reader how important they are and that she loves them.
As the poem concludes, the speaker expresses the hope that the listener will go to bed rather than to the noose, will turn off the lights, and make it to a point where life is worth living.
You can read the full poem here.
Throughout this piece, the poet engages with themes of depression and suicide, as well as the purpose of life. The poet uses clear and direct language and syntax to explore the reasons why someone should not go through with their planned suicide. Not yet, anyway. First, they need to do the simple things no one should miss out on. Eventually, all of those simple pleasures, like trying a new coffee at Starbucks, will add up until the next day feels exciting and worth living for.
Structure and Form
‘Don’t kill yourself today’ by Hannah Dains is a fifteen-stanza poem that is separated out into uneven sets of lines. Some of the stanzas are couplets, meaning they’re made up of two lines, while others are six, seven, or eight lines long. The poem is written in free verse. This means that the poet did not use a specific rhyme scheme or metrical pattern to unify the lines. Despite this, readers will immediately notice that the poem is structured through repetition.
Dains makes use of several literary devices throughout ‘Don’t kill yourself today.’ These include but are not limited to:
- Anaphora: occurs when the poet uses the same word or phrase at the beginning of multiple lines. In this case, seven lines start with “Don’t kill yourself today.”
- Alliteration: seen through the repetition of the same consonant sounds at the beginning of words. For example, “Starbucks” and “sometime” in the third stanza and “world” and “without” in stanza eleven.
- Allusion: occurs when the poet makes use of information but doesn’t fully explain that information. For example, referring to “your Netflix trial.” For someone who doesn’t know what Netflix is, this isn’t going to make sense. It’s going to require that they spend time researching in order to fully understand the poem.
Don’t kill yourself today
Because your Netflix trial still has a week left
Don’t kill yourself today
Because I know for a fact that Starbucks is releasing a new Frappuccino sometime next month
In the first lines of ‘Don’t kill yourself today,’ Dains begins by telling the reader three times not to kill themselves today. This is accompanied by three different reasons. They may seem mundane, but Dains was interested in considering the short-term points of interest that might get someone from day today. There are bigger and smaller reasons to see the next day through, and they include using the rest of the Netflix trial and trying a new drink. Dains starts with these small reasons to stay alive and then broadens her scope as the poem progresses.
Yes, your mother will miss you
Yes your bully will make a sappy Facebook post about how what a a wonderful person you were
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem
Don’t kill yourself
Until Doctor Who is finally cancelled
The fourth stanza is different. It’s longer and explores what would happen after “you” killed yourself. By using anaphora and repeating “Yes” numerous times, the speaker is acknowledging all the things the reader already knows. Yes, she says, “your mother will miss you,” and “Yes, your bully will make a sappy Facebook post.”
The speaker also makes a poignant statement about suicide being a permanent solution for a temporary problem. This relates back to the temporary short-term solutions that might inspire someone to live one more day. There is a bit of humor in this poem as well, especially when the speaker asks that you wait to kill yourself till you finish your “shampoo and conditioner at the same time.” In amongst inspiring the reader to see the bright points in their life, the speaker is also looking to make them smile.
Don’t kill yourself
Until you tell someone your best pasta recipe
Don’t kill yourself
It’s a bad day
Not a bad life
There is more to this
The following stanzas provide another temporary solution to wanting to kill yourself and a few more different and emotional reasons not to. The speaker says “I love you” and “You’re important,” statements that someone experiencing depression might want to hear when they’re struggling. The speaker also says that this list is not limited. She’s going to keep coming up with reasons to stay alive. This should give the reader hope that even when this poem is over, and the reasons are exhausted, there is going to be more they’re inspired by.
Stanzas Eleven- Thirteen
The world will keep spinning on its axis without you
This is about finding the bed instead of the noose
This is about giving yourself one more day
Even if it takes ten thousand of those
One more morning’s
“I can’t wait for tomorrow”
The poem moves into even more powerful territory in the next lines as the speaker reminds the listener of the sunsets they’ll miss and then puts together a scenario that might be familiar to someone experiencing suicidal tendencies. The speaker uses a few more examples of anaphora and repetition to ask the listener to go to bed rather than to the noose. It might take some time, she says, but eventually, you’ll wake up and enjoy the day. It’s worth waiting for even if it takes 10,000 “one more day[s].”
This is about staying alive
Because there’s gonna be a new Marvel movie
I don’ t need you to see it
I just need you to believe you can make it
The poem concludes with a few more short stanzas that remind the reader that eventually, things are going to change, and the “future is coming.” It’s only important to believe that things are going to change, even if that the changes are entirely clear. It’s this belief that’s going to get “you” through the 10,000 days till “you’re” finally excited about the next.
Dains wrote this poem with the hope of inspiring any reader to put off thinking about suicide from just one more day. She was hoping to provide readers with a variety of reasons to live through as many days as possible.
The tone is hopeful and inspiring. The speaker is hoping to inspire the reader to stay alive just long enough for the next interesting thing to happen, even if that thing is just a new coffee flavor.
The speaker is someone who has some experience with depression and suicidal thoughts. They’re caring, interested in the reader’s best interests, and capable of seeing the positives in life. They’re unnamed and there is no information about their identity.
The message is that no matter how bad things seem, they are temporary. There are many different reasons to stay alive through the next day, even if they’re simple and seemingly meaningless. Suicide, Dains says, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
This poem is important because it has provided numerous readers, across the world, with reasons to see the next day through. Dains takes a different and creative approach to addressing the topic of suicide. Rather than criticizing, she understands and gives simple reason to stay alive.
Readers who enjoyed ‘Don’t kill yourself today’ should also consider reading some related poems. For example:
- ‘Suicide Note‘ by Langston Hughes – a short emotional poem that speaks very simply and peacefully on life, suicide and death.
- ‘Lady Lazarus‘ by Sylvia Plath – is an exceptional piece describing a speaker who bears the burden of failed suicidal trials and discovers her new self at the last attempt.
- ‘Acquainted with Night‘ by Robert Frost – a personal poem that deals with themes of depression. It’s told, perhaps, from the poet’s own perspective.