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SUICIDE

He said:

"when I die,
bury me
side by side,
with my ancestors
that jumped from the ships
into the ocean,
because they knew
death was better
than this lingering
unending slavery."

I answered:

"But suicide is cowardice,
vultures will perch on your corpse
For seeking a short-cut in fear
And running from life hurdles.
Even women man up to life,
And confront reality
Eyeball to eyeball.

My ancestors placed bridges
that carried us over.
Buffalo Soldiers,
The front battles with
Sudanic Soldiers.

My parents are Bantu warriors,
The valiant Mandigo hunters,
That made wild cats their pets.
Great Benin and Benue farmers,
Great artists of Ile-Ife,
Great Opobo and Calabar traders,
The charcoal wrestlers of Gold Coast
And the beautiful deities
of the Asante clan.

Ancestor can not be you
With a knotted rope in hand
Upon a chair staring at
The hook of the ceiling fan."

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Editing stage: 

Comments

First, to get it out of the way, I think you have a typo in the line "[Even] man woman up to life."
I think you meant [Every]? Now, to the rest of it! I knew you had the gift to make the things of ordinary life, stand out and boy, did you ever this time! [Not that suicide is an ordinary thing] Even though you left only the second and last stanzas to explain that he was seeking refuge in the arms of death, your outrage and disbelief at the man going to take his own life, made it a very powerful speech! Your history lesson along with it just made it perfect!
~ Geezer.
.

Comments and critique are a vital part of our community!
Critique or comment today!

Wicked write, my friend. We share the same ancestry. :):)

I had one eye on The Voice just now, and your words pulled me onto the site!!! Not sure if you’re an experienced poet, or a newbie like me, but you certainly have a way.

The only nit I have to pick is

Even women man up to life

After they man up, women turn around and raise the men who man up... just sayin. But I digress.

This write reached in!

Smiles to you.

Legna

getting there with this poem. Good form and a good devise. I It needs some cleaning up.
First the third person (he) makes his declaration, in the present, that he would drown himself at sea. The answer then says the vultures will feed on the bottom, but I think in this case would be the sharks (at sea). You then go into the glories of the past generations of your tribe (interesting and done well) but end with the idea of one hanging himself... the line "Ancestor can not be you" i think you are saying "Ancestor, this cannot be you" that you should embrace your heritage...but what does this have to do with the fact of enslavement, of people treated like cattle being chained and whipped, and the idea that under such circumstances suicide is cowardice? You are also making the statement at the end in the present...but it would seem you are taking in today's present, not that of the "slave trade" of 300 years ago
I think the idea is well placed, to be proud and face your fate without giving in to suicide. I think you have to explore it a bit more, and keep the specific image of the suicide more constant.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

The poem addresses Suicide from two perspectives.

One claiming it is honorable and brave to take ones life than subject to life's difficulties and another disputing Suicide is cowardice using analogue to display a dramatic irony.

The first speaker requests that after he might have taken his life, the second speaker should bury him in his imaginary ancestral graveyard. Obviously a figurative means (metonymy precisely) to recount and recall the historical heroics of his ancestors that jumped from slave ships into the waters to avoid slavery, as a means to defend and justify his decisions.

But the second speaker argues and refute his claims by approaching the first speaker from his very perspective and at the same time asserting his point of view which claims 'Suicide is cowardice' in contrast to what the first speaker thinks, and assuring him his expectations to be honored as his ancestors that jumped from slave ships won't be seen in the same light and threatening him with

'Vultures will perch on your corpse/For seeking a short-cut in fear'.

And draws in a comparison by using a deliberate oxymoron that states that:

'Even women man up to life/ And confront reality/ Eyeball to eyeball'.

'Man up' here meaning standing up to challenge something, using the natural bravery of a man as opposed to the natural weakness of a woman to make emphasis.

And went on to recount the heroics of his ancestors that didn't jump off slave ships, but maned up to life and confront it valiantly, as well as remind the first speaker who he is by recollecting the strength of his origin.

And then switch back in the last stanza to the present that with your silly decisions right now dear friend as a result of difficulties:

' Ancestor can not be you
With a knotted rope in hand
Upon a chair staring at
The hook of the ceiling fan." Contemplating suicide.

This was my strong self up against my weak self at a time suicide took over my thoughts. Every poetic device and switch in tenses was deliberate.

Hommies

author comment

for standing up to the comments and critique without getting all defensive! My mistake on the line I called into question as a typo. I read it wrong! I now understand the meaning behind it. Very good stuff!
~ Geezer.
.

Comments and critique are a vital part of our community!
Critique or comment today!

as the host of two local poetry workshops which meet weekly, (each a 2 hour session with a dozen poets offering their work for comments) I have learned so much about my own writing and how to absorb comments and critiques. The most important thing I learned and continue to learn is that whatever was my intent in a poem is not always successful. what seems obvious and thought out does not always work with the reader, no matter how mature the reader is. As I read over your poem with your comments I cannot reach them in the poem. Now, as we always say, the poem is yours to use or not use the comments. But If the majority of readers have the same feeling about a poem presented, always a good idea to consider their views. We all (or most of us) want our poems to be understood. Unfortunately there are too few responses and dialogue to merit that here.
I hope the lab which is being worked on in Neopoet will help create more voices of comments for a poem, like a real workshop where everyone responds to the poem. But in the meantime you only have a few followers, like me, who think most of your work is dynamite. My comments are the best way I can share that enthousiam of your work.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Well...........I am going to make public something only a very few know. At one point in my life years ago I had decided suicide was about the only course I had left. Obviously I was led to change my mind(another story) so a poem about suicide is very personal to me. This poem examines most of the pros and cons of suicide. I think it does so well and lets pride of ancestors overcome the weakness in spirit.....'nuff said.............stan

I'll work harder in the future to bring my projections closer to the readerreader, and cconsider this poem a failure

Hommies

author comment

consider it a failure. Let it sit a while then return to it with fresh eyes for an edit.

This is a difficult subject but should be explored in a poem helps clarify things. May I suggest a great great read “the death of sisyphus” by Albert Camus an essay about suicide from the existential philosophy. Some very interesting perspectives to add to your own

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Checking that out immediately...

Hommies

author comment

Checking that out immediately...

Hommies

author comment

Checking that out immediately...

Hommies

author comment
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