Analysis Of A Suicide Note
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Health and Wellness

Analysis Of A Suicide Note

Explaining a poem written months before the author's suicide

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Analysis Of A Suicide Note
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Sara Teasdale wrote a poem, later put to music, that is sung in choirs across the country.

There will be rest, and sure stars shining
Over the roof-tops crowned with snow,
A reign of rest, serene forgetting,
The music of stillness holy and low.

I will make this world of my devising
Out of a dream in my lonely mind.
I shall find the crystal of peace, – above me
Stars I shall find.


To the average reader this is just a pretty little poem, but when you begin to understand Sara Teasdale's life, it takes on more meaning.

This poem is a suicide note.

It was written just a few short months before Teasdale killed herself. She struggled with depression for her entire adult life and it eventually ended her.

It is different to read this poem when you are depressed and have considered suicide in the past, or so my choir-mates tell me when I get weepy as I sing the text. Every line in this song has deep emotional meaning, and I want to try to explain it to you.

(Remember, this is simply my interpretation of the text. We will never know what Teasdale meant when she wrote this so all we can rely on is what the words say to us.)

"There will be rest" Depression takes so much out of you, you constantly feel tired, sometimes you can't sleep, but no matter what your brain is exhausted from this battle you fight every day. Sara is looking forward to a time where she will not be exhausted from her daily battle. She is looking forward to a time of rest.

"And sure stars shining" Depression is often described as the blackest night, where it is too dark to even see the stars. Stars are a universal symbol of hope, so here Sara is saying that in the future she will find things she cares about, things that make her happy.

"Over the roof-tops crowned with snow" Depression is like a long winter. It traps you inside, leaves you feeling cold and empty. It holds you back from what you love. Here Sara takes a dark image of winter and finds the beauty in it. With her stars, she will find beauty in the winter.

"A reign of rest, serene forgetting" In a depressive state we hold onto things, every tiny thing someone has ever said or done, here Sara dreams that one day she will be able to forget, to forget the pain, and again, rest.

"The music of stillness holy and low." In a depressed mind thoughts are constantly racing. You never get a minute of peace and quiet. In Sara's dream future, she see's herself finding a place of still quiet in her mind.

"I will make this world of my devising" Now Sara is angry, determined. She is planning to change her situation. One would hope she is planning to work on recovery, though it is more likely that she plans to take control of her life by ending it.

"Out of a dream in my lonely mind" Sara is going to manifest a vision of the future (the one she told us about last stanza) but feels it is something she cannot share with anyone. Depression is extremely isolating and naturally makes you feel like you are the only one to have ever felt that way.

"I shall find the crystal of peace" Sara is hopeful. She will find the place in her heart where depression cannot touch her and she is safe from the horrible thoughts that plague her daily life.

"Above me" I can only imagine this is referring to heaven. She believes she can only find peace once she is dead.

"Stars I shall find." Again, she references this symbol of hope and beauty, but now it is darker. We know she believes she can only be free of her depression by killing herself, so this time when she tells us about her stars we know she is dreaming about being dead.

So it is no wonder I cry when I sing this song.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what depression can make you believe but make no mistake, this is not an absolute truth. This is filtered through the lense of chronic and terrible sadness. There is another way to find your stars.

Talk to a counselor, try something new, meditate, exercise, talk to someone, try a prescribed medication.

I promise, you will find your stars, and you will live to talk about it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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