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.

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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!),...

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The Little White Hearse

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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.

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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • by Linda Varden
  • 5 months 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!

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