On the Suicide of a Friend


God help the kids! I heard the neighbours say—
so quick to judge, though mostly they were kind.
They saw the sorry mess you left behind
and thought you took the coward’s selfish way.

The coward’s way? No, not that I can see:
despair’s a snare. They say a fox will gnaw
its fettered limb and sacrifice the paw:
what desperation drove you to break free?

Nor were you selfish. Just beneath the calm
the darkness gathered; I have known it too.
It touched the ones you loved: I’m certain you
believed you were protecting them from harm.

God—if there’s a God—will grant you rest:
you failed, we all do, but you did your best.

In Memoriam Out of the Night