‘River Liffey Incident . . . Pen & Wash . . . WHB – 1994


suicide on a whim
is not unheard of
but few such perpetrators
live to tell the tale

one such
rescued from his indecision
by the Gardai
lived through his trauma
sweet Liffey run softly
while I tell the story

distraught by his
gambling debts
and the drinking
his only way to a conclusion
seemed to him to be
he thought
that he wanted to die
part irresolute

in a single moment of wavering
he had jumped
just fell perhaps
but the fear
and the cold water
soon hit him
hit harder
than the twenty foot drop

an instinctive cry
escaped him
you could call it
a change of mind
his cry for help
was a second thought
an unintended consequence
of his half-hearted conviction

and now he was held
grasped in a rescue bid

but did he wish to be salvaged
to be pleaded with
would that bring him
the closure he craved
attention unwanted
but secured
attention secured
but unwanted

and still
he could not let go
the ladder
his passport to life
a life he did not desire
could he bear to go there
yet again
to continue
victim to more pain
to yet more anguish

but temporary chagrin
is no killer
his cri de coeur
his indecision

is it heads or tails
is it stay or go
is life’s hurt
greater than death’s pain
is future shame
worse than eternity’s

we will never know
the prognosis
I suspect
he is still amongst us
ever indecisive
a suitor for attention
defaulting on his debts
not stopping at three pints
one of life’s
irresolute chancers



3 thoughts on “SUICIDE ON A WHIM

  1. This poem makes you take a step back and think about your mortality Roland. When I was a baby faced police officer I worked near Tower Bridge, which was always a favoured place for people in this position, especially at weekends. Fortunately we had a 100 percent record in talking them out of it.


    • That must have been an incredibly difficult task – when at any moment matters could have gone the other way. It would be interesting to re-write my verse entirely from the perspective of the Garda officer. Thanks for your comment, Davy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No problem Roland. It was one of those things that never got easier. In the early days you never received any training to deal with it. You just tried to be a compassionate being and keep everything crossed.


Comments are closed.