Louis Macneice

(12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963 / Belfast)

The Suicide - Poem by Louis Macneice

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.


Comments about The Suicide by Louis Macneice

  • (1/20/2017 8:52:00 PM)


    Almost the whole poem seems to be from the perspective of a detached, nonempathic observer. And then the last 4 lines startle the reader into considering the possibility that the writer may have known him. Brilliant! (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (1/20/2017 4:55:00 PM)


    ....very nicely penned, with a touch of mystery ★ (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (1/20/2017 12:42:00 PM)


    Excellent piece of work... thanks for sharing..... (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (1/20/2017 8:51:00 AM)

    Outstanding poem
    Very unusual Prem nicely written thanks for sharing it. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (1/20/2017 5:10:00 AM)

    Act
    Intact! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/20/2017 3:55:00 AM)

    tom allport
    brilliant poem of some one in despair, so sad. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (1/20/2017 12:31:00 AM)


    A poem of sadness. Thanks for the memory. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (11/11/2015 1:44:00 PM)


    Very powerful because of the apparent lack of compassion- yet the last five lines spoke with humanity 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.
    (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: smile, suicide



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



[Report Error]