A Ballade of Suicide

A BALLADE OF SUICIDE
by G. K. 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.

ENVOI

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.

Painting by Drew Hewitt

Painting by Drew Hewitt

Hurt

HURT
by Nine Inch Nails;
as performed by Johnny Cash

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel.
I focus on the pain,
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole,
The old familiar sting,
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything.

What have I become,
My sweetest friend?
Everyone I know
Goes away
In the end.
And you could have it all,
My empire of dirt.
I will let you down
I will make you hurt.

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair,
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair.
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear;
You are someone else
I am still right here.

If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way.