Famous Death Poem

When Ella Wheeler Wilcox was about 28 years of age, she married Robert Wilcox. They had one child, a son, who died shortly after birth. The Rhyme Scheme is ABAAB.

Featured Shared Story

One cannot relate to the loss of a child unless they have gone through it. One can only feel the same pain of another if they have. This poem beautifully speaks of and shares this pain.

Share your story! (4)

Famous Poem

The Little White Hearse

Ella Wheeler Wilcox By more Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Somebody's baby was buried to-day--
      The empty white hearse from the grave rumbled back,
And the morning somehow seemed less smiling and gay
      As I paused on the walk while it crossed on its way,
And a shadow seemed drawn o'er the sun's golden track.

Somebody's baby was laid out to rest,
      White as a snowdrop, and fair to behold,
And the soft little hands were crossed over the breast,
      And those hands and the lips and the eyelids were pressed
With kisses as hot as the eyelids were cold.

Somebody saw it go out of her sight,
      Under the coffin lid--out through the door;
Somebody finds only darkness and blight
      All through the glory of summer-sun light;
Somebody's baby will waken no more.

Somebody's sorrow is making me weep:
      I know not her name, but I echo her cry,
For the dearly bought baby she longed so to keep,
      The baby that rode to its long-lasting sleep
In the little white hearse that went rumbling by.

I know not her name, but her sorrow I know;
      While I paused on the crossing I lived it once more,
And back to my heart surged that river of woe
      That but in the breast of a mother can flow;
For the little white hearse has been, too, at my door.

Advertisement

more Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • Stories 4
  • Shares 688
  • Favorited 24
  • Votes 566
  • Rating 4.23
Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • S. Caligiuri by S. Caligiuri, Niagara Falls
  • 1 year ago

One cannot relate to the loss of a child unless they have gone through it. One can only feel the same pain of another if they have. This poem beautifully speaks of and shares this pain.

  • Antony Deany by Antony Deany
  • 2 years ago

When I read the poem, tears full of melancholy kept flowing out of my eyes. I feel in the shoes of the writer passing through the same, though poems are part of my life, this one has created an impression that I can't stop cursing death. Wish and long for that day when death will be no more at all.

  • Tanya by Tanya
  • 5 years ago

After reading this poem I felt that this feelings are not expressed by the poet but by Death who has just met with that mentioned BABY.

  • Linda Varden by Linda Varden
  • 6 years ago

Just read this poem after discovering your fantastic site, and I've not been so touched by verse for a very long time! I LOVE her poetry anyway, (I've seen it copied by others on Facebook!), but this one strikes the chord that every other poem misses - so very poignant. I'm certain that for other grieving mothers too, it may bring them, as it has myself, the cold comfort of knowing you're never alone!

Back to Top