A Ballade Of Suicide

Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, if you rang it yourself.

By GK Chesterton.

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall;
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours–on the wall–
Are drawing a long breath to shout “Hurray!”
The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay–
My uncle’s sword is hanging in the hall–
I see a little cloud all pink and grey–
Perhaps the rector’s mother will not call– I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way–
I never read the works of Juvenal–
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing-day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall,
Rationalists are growing rational–
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray
So secret that the very sky seems small–
I think I will not hang myself to-day.


Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even to-day your royal head may fall,
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

This is an interactive post. Let’s hear you all opine on this poem and its subject matter.

About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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3 Responses to A Ballade Of Suicide

  1. kathleen says:

    GKC is presenting our lives as always having something worth while living for (as Bishop Fulton J Sheen also used to say), even in the most desperate of situations. Life is a precious gift – a short pilgrimage in exile from our True Home – a testing time, where we work out our salvation.

    The suicide of anyone is surely one of the saddest things in the world! It should challenge each and every one of us to question why we allowed this to happen; why we were not there to help, to console, to fill the void of emptiness and despair in the hearts of the distressed person who ended their own life.

    Victims of suicide are often not in their right minds of course; their psychological problems are so irremediable that this removes much of (if not all) of the blame from them and those close to them from any possible culpability. It is still no less of a tragedy though.
    For those who do not have unbalanced minds, suicide is often simply an escape route. Here the person has failed to see how every moment spent on Earth – even those where suffering can be immense – can be ‘turned into gold’ if offered to God as a sacrifice. It will therefore have tremendous redemptive value. This young woman has discovered this:

  2. What a remarkable lady. She is a warrior, God Bless her and her family.

  3. GC says:

    Give us our first clue, Brother B.🙂

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