Grief Poetry: The Little White Hearse

A poem for grieving, coping with death, healing


The Little White Hearse
by 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.



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Comment by veronica V King on May 26, 2010 at 2:57am
My step-grandson who was only 2mos. old named Carlitos one day on that hearse he rode.... The sun did not shine and for this baby my step - daughter was cryin'. Alongside was her husband holding her close as their baby rode away in that hearse. No pain could be greater, no sorrow soo profound then watching your baby put to rest underground!

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