Still life by the open window

When he called me,
just to tell how far it was to fall,
how dark was depth beneath the sill
how much the voices told him that:
“you have nothing left in life.”
He told me how he just ceased to take
the pills, and how he
after that had smashed his laptop…
he told me of the opened window
and how dark, the street
was waiting down below

I had no other training
than to be myself a man, his boss
turned friend asked him

“What about your mother then?”

and through his silent sigh, I knew
that he wouldn’t jump tonight.

Still Life at the Open Window by
Juan Gris

Today Laura wants us to write about madness at dVerse, our own experience real or imagined in first or third person. I do not know home much madness is connected to depression, but this is based on a real case when I had to talk a friend out of suicide an evening many years ago, he has since recovered from this, and we meet regularly.
—-
September 10, 2019

24 responses to “Still life by the open window

  1. That was a great idea, taking the title of the painting as your poem’s title, Björn, and it is apt. The dark depth beneath the sill in palpable. I think we all hear voices from time to time, but it must be awful to hear them constantly. All you can be in situations like is a friend.

  2. Bjorn, this is utterly beautiful in your telling of the story. You conveyed your sense of helplessness, his sense of hopelessness, and the tragedy of it all. The question you asked him in that moment was brilliant. Bravo.

  3. Bjorn, “I had no other training than to be myself a man” is such a vulnerable place to be especially knowing what was at stake. You kept the “still life” talking and asked him to engage reality on what would come after. So glad you were there that day for him ❤

  4. Truth proves to be stronger than fiction. This is a powerful and personal memory wonderfully shared. there was the spice of reality in it, but then again, you are a good enough writer its validity would be hard to guess.

  5. glad you could talk him down, most are well beyond thinking of others when they are in that depth of helplessness and hopelessness … pic is profound!

  6. How lucky that he felt he could call you, how lucky that you could be that lifeline. I like the fact that you have kept this very simple, and yet it’s so powerful. The call of the fall.

  7. This is sobering Björn, well written. Glad you were able to help your friend. Each of us has likely glanced down at that street, even if for but a brief moment. Some just get much closer to the window — a few go through. Your question would have elicited an opposite reaction from me… long story.

  8. i am sooo glad you were available to talk to your friend that night, Bjorn! My father was similarly close to suicide in a bi-polar episode years ago…forever grateful for the police officer who talked him off the edge.

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