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

4

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

8

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

12

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

16

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.