Suicide by Sonnet

Oh God, oh Sun, oh servant Christian man
Why dare you me, bid me rise when I am blind;
You’ll never understand why I can’t stand
On two feet like your sweet contented kind.
Oh, I have not the will to move from here
My dirty grave, my bed, my broken home
Of weep, and sleep, and humanness so near
Where I must force myself to sigh, to groan.
Less save I up and fly for but a breath,
Then crash to earth below and drown desire.
No daily op’ning eyes to nothingness
Instead embrace eternal dark—or fire.
The sun will rise soon after I am dead
And gods and men will drink where I have bled.

written in 2002

Photo by Ellie Burgin

Since April is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d jump in and post a poem a day to honor my cherished discipline.  I wrote this during my first bout with depression while mourning the unexpected deaths of some of my peers in college.  I remember when my professor challenged us to write a sonnet; I bucked creatively, and promptly abandoned sentiments of love or nature.  I did, however, follow the rules of a Shakespearean sonnet with three rhyming quatrains and a concluding couplet in fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. Traditionally, sonnets pivot in the final two lines, and I opted to conclude with naturally dramatic verse.  It was a safe, novel way of “contemplating suicide” (the original title) and, while pondering, let the poem consider the act for me.

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