Instead of an Elegy by Ciaran Parkes

Instead of an Elegy

Two of my friends committing suicide
in the same twelve months. One of them
on his birthday, his mobile phone
full of unread messages, his body

full of drink and drugs, as if he’d been
having too much fun. The other found
on the street, as if she’d flown down
from her high window, following

the pigeons that she loved. Both were alone
in the end, both sociable. I swim
in the evenings late, alone, like some
half-hearted suicide. The other half

of my heart stays waiting on the shore,
keeping watch. It wants to be alive.

by Ciaran Parkes

Editor’s Note: This poem’s contradictions form its backbone—survival plus grief plus guilt summed into a moment of life.


One response to “Instead of an Elegy by Ciaran Parkes”

  1. richardsund Avatar

    A very painful but poignant poem. It broke my heart to put my beloved 95 y.o. mother into Assisted Living. With not enough family support, I simply could not keep her in her home of 50 years anymore – my Dad gone since 2007. They were married 63 years. I do not think the poet has forgotten her…as is stated.I may need to examine the poet’s line.

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