To Melvin Gardner: Suicide

A poem by John Charles McNeill

A flight of doves, with wanton wings,
Flash white against the sky.
In the leafy copse an oriole sings,
And a robin sings hard by.
Sun and shadow are out on the hills;
The swallow has followed the daffodils;
In leaf and blade, life throbs and thrills
Through the wild, warm heart of May.

To have seen the sun come back, to have seen
Children again at play,
To have heard the thrush where the woods are green
Welcome the new-born day,
To have felt the soft grass cool to the feet,
To have smelt earth's incense, heavenly sweet,
To have shared the laughter along the street,
And, then, to have died in May!

A thousand roses will blossom red,
A thousand hearts be gay,
For the summer lingers just ahead
And June is on her way;
The bee must bestir him to fill his cells,
The moon and the stars will weave new spells
Of love and the music of marriage bells--
And, oh, to be dead in May!

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