‘Suicide in the Trenches’ is an incredibly tragic poem. Siegfried Sassoon explores the mental deterioration of a young soldier in the trenches of WW1 and his suicide.
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.
‘Don’t kill yourself today’ by Hannah Dains is a thoughtful and powerful poem about suicide. The poet explores all the reasons someone has to stay alive and expresses her love for those struggling with depression.
Don’t kill yourself today
Because your Netflix free trial still has a week left.
Don’t kill yourself today
because no one else will finish off the chicken in the fridge.
‘Bag of Mice’ by Nick Flynn is a powerful poem that describes a speaker’s dream and a listener’s suicide note. It uses short, evocative lines that are easy to read and hard to forget.
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,
Robert Service’s ‘Death in the Arctic’ tells a bleak, dark story in such an evocative way that even after the poem finishes, the reader can’t help but wonder for more.
I took the clock down from the shelf;
"At eight," said I, "I shoot myself."
It lacked a minute of the hour,
And as I waited all a-cower,
‘Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note’ (1961) is the titular poem of Amiri Baraka’s first collection of poems. This piece introduces a depressed narrator engrossed with the thoughts of dying.
Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus...
Explore more poems about Suicide
Robert Frost, aka ‘nature boy,’ penned this lovely poem, ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ in 1922, subsequently published with his long poem, ‘New Hampshire’.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
‘Ellen West’ by Frank Bidart is a long poem capturing the life-defining moments of Ellen West, a woman who was the signature case for existential analysis in the 19th century. The poem is narrated majorly by West herself, with her doctor Ludwig Binswanger intermittently rendering a clinical analysis of her behaviour.
I love sweets,—
would be dying on a bed of vanilla ice cream . . .
But my true self
is thin, all profile
‘Cottage Street, 1953’ by Richard Wilbur is a powerful poem based on the poet’s own experience. It depicts a simple social meeting between his family and the Plaths.
Framed in her phoenix fire-screen, Edna Ward
Bends to the tray of Canton, pouring tea
For frightened Mrs. Plath; then, turning toward
The pale, slumped daughter, and my wife, and me.