Monday, July 1, 2024

I Wrote an Essay on Suicide (in Tenth Grade)


That blue guitar I had

when I was young

is gone now,

frets and strings

pulled back to another time.


I remember the burning

on my fingertips,

the busyness of learning

to put the tune all together,


and a yearning

to scale

from basement

to window



I don’t know,



I wanted to send a message

from hidden hours

I’d spent writing and sketching

figures of love and loneliness

draped across my waterbed.


Oceans have passed

since then

and the message

remains much the same.


Hello. I am.  And so are you. I see you,

lily among the cranberries

in a burning coffin.

Jump, but into a place

where snow and rain are soft.


The tune plays softly still,

lighting matches for hope’s candle.


Grasp it with me, together.

We’ll need the light,

and we’ve got many miles to go

before we sleep.



© 2024 Jennifer Wagner


Shay’s Word Garden Word List


The close is a twist on the close of Robert Frost’s poem.  Yes, I had a waterbed and a blue guitar in the 80’s. 



  1. I think it was Fitzgerald who said that there are no second acts in American lives. Nonsense! I think I am on at least my third. Like the fellow in the movie "City Slickers" whose life is a do-over, it's a damn good thing we can change the tune along the way. I like that you had a blue guitar. That just seems so "you."

  2. You had me at the title. I love the blue guitar and the waterbed. I was a grownup before I had one. Loved them. Your poem is Just. So. Beautiful.

  3. A very powerful and honest poem - I am glad it ends with light - Jae

  4. I always wanted a guitar. Even into adulthood, but never got one. How I admired Judy Collins, how she could sing and play her guitar. These words stay with me: " Hello. I am. And so are you. I see you, " A good reminder that we all need to be seen! Even in the poetry world, being seen is a good thing. I see you, and I loved this poem.

  5. Thank goodness we can change the tune of life. If hadn't been able to do that, I would have succumbed to my own suicide song. Thank you for this beautiful reminder life can go on to rewrite or write a new song.

  6. I tried the guitar once but i was useless at playing it. So music past me by. But this is really good and i enjoyed it.

  7. I can see that waterbed and blue guitar. Excellent poem, Jennifer!

  8. I love this line: The tune plays softly still, lighting matches for hope’s candle. So glad you are here and writing hope!

  9. Jennifer this is deeply relatable to all of us that have experienced life and gotten older. Simply beautiful!

  10. Reading this was like reading a love song -- from the present self to the younger self. Like a lullaby, "The tune plays softly still,/lighting matches for hope’s candle." Heartbreakingly tender, like all lullabies should be.


Thank you for your thoughts!