Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

The Suicide -- Louis MacNeice

Guest poem sent in by Smitha Rao
(Poem #521) The Suicide
 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.
-- Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice was born in Northern Ireland in 1907 and died in 1964. He
took a first in Greats at Oxford and later taught classics at the University
of Birmingham. Though his work is spoken of in the same breath as Auden's
the main worry about his poetry is its occasional lack of depth and
penetration, although in his best work there is a piercing sweetness and

This touching poem about a colleague who killed himself is a moving record
of MacNeice's response to years of office life. The image of 'a manhole
under the hollihocks' is an effective one for the sudden sense of a yawning
void at one's feet which extreme depression can sometimes produce. The last
two lines might serve as an epitaph on MacNeice himself.


We've run one MacNeice poem before, Bagpipe Music: poem #18

For a brief biography and a number of poems see

38 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Suresh Ramasubramanian said...

Hi all ...

Martin Julian DeMello wrote:

> 'The Suicide'

> And this, ladies and gentlemen, whom I am not in fact
> Conducting, was his office all those minutes ago,

Is this a 'death week' by any chance? The next poem Thomas posts is
about a young sailor drowning ...

Lovely poem btw ;) I was reminded of _another_ suicide poem - 'Richard
Cory' by Edward Arlington Robinson (from 'The Children of the night')

Great when played on a guitar ....

[now settled into my new job]

Richard Cory
By Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace;
In fine we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

- Edwin Arlington Robinson -
" The Children Of The Night "

Jeangaczol said...

I have been trying to find this song for years, now that I have found it I
like it, My dear mother who is long gone, inspired my love for old songs many
years ago. I just remembered the music in my head (I don't read or write
music) & the first two lines of the lyric. Thank you. JEAN G.

Linksview said...

Hi Smitha,
I am wondering if you have any other details on the suicide poem, I am working on a collection of paintings refecting MacNeices poetry.The first thing I thought of it was the WallStreet crash, but you mention a colleague's suicide,so
perhaps it took place in London and was unrelated to the depression.I will appreciate any insight you may have, I am trying to place the view beyond the open window .....
thanks much, Patricia- Northern Ireland

Ideas de negocios said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, but I am firmly convinced of this and love to learn more about the subject. If possible, acquire knowledge, would you update your blog with more information? It is very helpful to me

Anonymous said...

Nike Free Run 2 new style running shoes,
Nike Free Run womens running shoes,
Nike Free Run Plus good shoes for running,
Nike lunarglide 2 running shoes,
Nike free run 3.0 for mens,
Nike free 3.0 womens shoes,
Nike Free cheap cheap running shoes for sale.

Nike Free Run Sale online store,
Nike Free Run womens running shoes,
Nike Free Run Plus running shoes
Nike lunarglide 2 running shoes
Nike free 3.0 sale
Nike free 3.0 womens

Nike Free Run Cheap shoes for sale,
Nike Free Run womens running shoes,
Nike Free Run Plus running shoes
Nike lunarglide 2 running shoes
Nike free 3.0 sale
Nike free 3.0 womens
Cheap Nike Free Run shoes for sale.

Anonymous said...

What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious experience on the
topic of unexpected emotions.

Feel free to visit my web page; paläoernährung

Anonymous said...

Very energetic blog, I enjoyed that bit.
Will there be a part 2?

Feel free to surf to my site: low cab diät
my website - zöliakie

Anonymous said...

Hello there! I could have sworn I've visited your blog before but after browsing through many of the posts I realized it's new to me.
Nonetheless, I'm certainly delighted I found it and I'll be book-marking
it and checking back frequently!

My blog post; glutenfreies kochbuch

Anonymous said...

Wow! In the end I got a webpage from where I be able to actually obtain helpful facts concerning my
study and knowledge.

Look at my website; sofortrente

Anonymous said...

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as
though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us
something informative to read?

my web page: Wellnessmassage

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and
would really like to have you share some stories/information.

I know my visitors would appreciate your work.
If you're even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

Also visit my page; wordpress kurs

Anonymous said...

Pretty component of content. I just stumbled upon
your site and in accession capital to say that I get in fact enjoyed account your weblog posts.
Any way I'll be subscribing on your feeds or even I success you get entry to persistently quickly.

Also visit my site; steuerberaterkanzlei wiesbaden

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Its actually awesome paragraph, I have got much clear idea on the topic of from this paragraph.

my web page - low carb ernährungsplan woche

hp android said...

I am no longer certain the place you're getting your information, but good topic. And i like this post. Keep Sharing best article! I will came back to read next article.

harga android
harga hp android
tablet android
tablet pc
acer android
samsung android
minimalist home
biggest houses in the world

Anonymous said...

Farmacia On Line film tablete, Pfizer, the drug's manufacturers, at their Irish base in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork. farmacia on line was approved to treat the illness or condition for which they are being measured. Lack of awareness and ignorance about the sorry status of women, after all, just get a long HDMI cable -- you, really -- but seriously, that shouldn't pose much of a choice of sprightly colors.
The platform now has a lot going for it. Healthy
blood flow can lead to gangrene.

Have a look at my webpage :: view site…

Daniel Clark said...

The article posted was very informative and useful. You people are doing a great job. Electrical Electronic Products Components | Electronic Research And Development | Keep going.

Awais Hameed said...

Singapore has become a sort on the sporting phenomenon lately, and we will only place the cause of the following new, sprouting interest to the recent successes lately.

Awais Hameed said...

Physical activities Betting Champ, John Morrison is renowned for her 97% succeed rate MLB/NBA physical activities betting procedure. But, the Physical activities Betting Champ has additionally brought united states other priceless products...

zarena cantik said...

perfect perfect fried rice, good post for the beginners as well..Super Prema, loved the presentation very much
Selaput Dara Buatan
Vimax asli Canada
Obat Perangsang
viagra usa
Bio Slim Herbal
Boneka Full Body
vimax canada

Anonymous said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Post a Comment