Tuesday, December 1, 2015

'The Suicides' by Janet Frame

The Suicides

It is hard for us to enter
the kind of despair they must have known
and because it is hard we must get in by breaking
the lock if necessary for we have not the key,
though for them there was no lock and the surrounding walls
were supple, receiving as waves, and they drowned
though not lovingly; it is we only
who must enter in this way.

Temptations will beset us, once we are in.
We may want to catalogue what they have stolen.
We may feel suspicion; we may even criticize the décor
of their suicidal despair, may perhaps feel
it was incongruously comfortable.

Knowing the temptations then
let us go in
deep to their despair and their skin and know
they died because words they had spoken
returned always homeless to them.
Janet Frame
First published in The Pocket Mirror (George Braziller, 1967)
Collected in Storms Will Tell (Bloodaxe Books, 2008)

 Cover Illustration: 'The Stolen Child' by Tabitha Vevers


Anonymous said...

this is terrible. i clicked on this site expecting more than this. I am utertly and thoroughly dissapointed. I NEEDED HELP WITH MY ENGLISH ASSIgNEMNT ! someone with some knowledge on this poem; ELABORATE.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this poem. It helps explain the inevitability and the sadness when a life is lost through suicide. Anyone who has been depressed knows that place, that room. It acknowledges the survivors emotions, their love and loss. Somehow it made me realise I was not to blame.

Unknown said...

Actually, this is terrible because it is true.