The Suicide

By John Wieners 1934–2002 John Wieners
Yes I put her away.
      But now life flares up
   As safe as China in a cup
   You hear the droppings
             of her heart.
   Leaves rustle on the windowpane.
Three o’clock turns round again.
The man in the moon grows full
Of her death while earth awaits
To receive her ashes on the wind.
       Yes, earth owns the wind
       As I her life
       Whom I have never seen
       Nor been with
Still within our hearts there lies
          this communion
             of all that dies
   we held in common
   because without it
we become more common than the dust.
Clay cannot create her features
nor mirror reveal her mouth
Photograph not show her form
full with self, so put away
her picture from the shelf
And turn instead to living
woman on the couch, decked with flowers
as if it were she laid out,
and not Sylvia, in the woods.
Address to the Woman
Tell her that may not rise again
she sings still in our breath.
Tell her that may not breathe again
she moves yet beneath the moon.
Tell her that may not weave again
her hands are dawns within our eyes.
Tell her that may not speak again
Her words are warnings in the wood.

John Wieners, "The Suicide" from Selected Poems, 1958-1984, published by Black Sparrow Books. Copyright © 1986 by John Wieners.  Reprinted by permission of the John Wieners Literary Trust.

Source: Selected Poems, 1958-1984 (Black Sparrow Books, 1986)

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Poet John Wieners 1934–2002

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Arts & Sciences

 John  Wieners


Born in Boston, poet John Wieners was a Beat poet and member of the San Francisco Renaissance, Wieners was also an antiwar and gay rights activist. His poetry combines candid accounts of sexual and drug-related experimentation with jazz-influenced improvisation, placing both in a lyrical structure. In an interview with his editor, Raymond Foye, Wieners stated, “I try to write the most embarrassing thing I can think of.” As . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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