Louis MacNeice
The Suicide (c. 1937)


And this, ladies and gentlemen, whom I am not in fact


Conducting, was his office all those minutes ago,


This man you never heard of. These are the bills


In the intray, the ash in the ashtray, the grey memoranda stacked


Against him, the serried ranks of the box-files, the packed


Jury of his unanswered correspondence


Nodding under the paperweight in the breeze


From the window by which he left; and here is the cracked


Receiver that never got mended and here is the jotter


With his last doodle which might be his own digestive tract


Ulcer and all or might be the flowery maze


Through which he had wandered deliciously till he stumbled


Suddenly finally conscious of all he lacked


On a manhole under the hollyhocks. The pencil


Point had obviously broken, yet, when he left this room


By catdrop sleight-of-foot or simple vanishing act,


To those who knew him for all that mess in the street


This man with the shy smile has left behind


Something that was intact.