Past one o’clock. You must have gone to bed.
The Milky Way streams silver through the night.
I’m in no hurry; with lightning telegrams
I have no cause to wake or trouble you.
And, as they say, the incident is closed.
Love’s boat has smashed against the daily grind.
Now you and I are quits. Why bother then
To balance mutual sorrows, pains, and hurts.
Behold what quiet settles on the world.
Night wraps the sky in tribute from the stars.
In hours like these, one rises to address
The ages, history, and all creation.
This poem was found among Vladimir Mayakovsky’s papers after his suicide on April 14, 1930. The middle section, with modest revisions, served as an epilogue to his suicide note. Yes, plagued by critics and disappointed in his personal relationships, the poet who had criticized poet Serge Yesenin for committing suicide took his own life: You and I, we are quits, and there is no point in listing mutual pains, sorrows, and hurts.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, maintains the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). But we don’t talk about it much, do we?
According to the AFSP:
Although there is no single cause of suicide, one of the risks for suicide is social isolation, and there’s scientific evidence for reducing suicide risk by making sure we connect with one another. We can all play a role through the power of connection by having real conversations about mental health with people in everyday moments – whether it’s with those closest to us, or the coffee barista, parking lot attendant, or the grocery store clerk.
It’s also about the connection we each have to the cause, whether you’re a teacher, a physician, a mother, a neighbor, a veteran, or a suicide loss survivor or attempt survivor. We don’t always know who is struggling, but we do know that one conversation could save a life.
Know the suicide warning signs and if you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (800) 273-TALK (8255).
Take care of yourselves.