1. Home
  2. Poetry Magazine
  3. Poems
  4. Song for Dead Children by Muriel Rukeyser
Song for Dead Children

Related Poem Content Details

We set great wreaths of brightness on the graves of the passionate
who required tribute of hot July flowers—
for you, O brittle-hearted, we bring offering
remembering how your wrists were thin and your delicate bones
not yet braced for conquering.

The sharp cries of ghost-boys are keen above the meadows,
and little girls continue graceful and wondering.
Flickering evening on the lakes recalls those young
heirs whose developing years have sunk to earth,
their strength not tested, their praise unsung.

Weave grasses for their childhood—who will never see
love or disaster or take sides against decay
balancing the choices of maturity.
Silent and coffined in silence while we pass
loud in defiance of death, the helpless lie.


October 1935

“Song for Dead Children” from The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukesyer. Reprinted by permission of William Rukeyser and International Creative Management.
Source: Poetry (April 2012)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Song for Dead Children

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information