On the death of Robin Williams

My thoughts on Robin Williams and his death.

I wrote this after hearing of a suicide on my tube line. This is what had happened that evening, perhaps even that moment, as I sat above the same line, half a mile further into London, at a Quaker meeting in Friends House. At a terrible point in my life, I’d looked down at the line on the same platform and had considered the same, desperate step, but I cling to my wonderful up-and-down life too jealously.

I heard afterwards from the sister of the person who’d died: she approved of what I’d written. That meant something, as it is difficult and dangerous to speak or write about another’s torment.


They said you jumped, but not like that;
they made it so much more anonymous.
It hit you once, then rumbled to a halt.

As I’d listened to the rumble in the quietness,
five times it hit me: everything is meant to be.
Five times amongst my friends, I felt the stillness talk.

One time, one line; two lives, two spaces.
Now I’ll never know you but I know that place,
that platform edge; I will not join you yet.