The Suicide


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.

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