The Little Match Girl

By: William McGonagall

Poem Text

It was biting cold, and the falling snow,

Which filled a poor little match girl’s heart with woe,

Who was bareheaded and barefooted, as she went along the street,

Crying, “Who’ll buy my matches? for I want pennies to buy some meat!”


When she left home she had slippers on;

But, alas! poor child, now they were gone.

For she lost both of them while hurrying across the street,

Out of the way of two carriages which were near by her feet.


So the little girl went on, while the snow fell thick and fast;

And the child’s heart felt cold and downcast,

For nobody had bought any matches that day,

Which filled her little mind with grief and dismay.


Alas! she was hungry and shivering with cold;

So in a corner between two houses she made bold

To take shelter from the violent storm.

Poor little waif! wishing to herself she’d never been born.


And she grew colder and colder, and feared to go home

For fear of her father beating her; and she felt woe-begone

Because she could carry home no pennies to buy bread,

And to go home without pennies she was in dread.


The large flakes of snow covered her ringlets of fair hair;

While the passers-by for her had no care,

As they hurried along to their homes at a quick pace,

While the cold wind blew in the match girl’s face.


As night wore on her hands were numb with cold,

And no longer her strength could her uphold,

When an idea into her little head came:

She’d strike a match and warm her hands at the flame.


And she lighted the match, and it burned brightly,

And it helped to fill her heart with glee;

And she thought she was sitting at a stove very grand;

But, alas! she was found dead, with a match in her hand!


Her body was found half-covered with snow,

And as the people gazed thereon their hearts were full of woe;

And many present let fall a burning tear

Because she was found dead on the last night of the year,


In that mighty city of London, wherein is plenty of gold—

But, alas! their charity towards street waifs is rather cold.

But I hope the match girl’s in Heaven, beside her Saviour dear,

A bright reward for all the hardships she suffered here.

Main Idea

The main idea of this poem is that people are selfish and if it doesn't have to do with them then they don't care. This little girl wants money just to eat a little meal, she is willing to give up warmth for food. Everyone walks by or drives by her and they never once acknowledge her. They go about their own business and don't ever realize that this little girl is suffering. Then once they see that she has died, they feel pity and woe but you know that in a few hours they will go back to doing what they do and never remember that little girl again. People need to realize that there is more to life then the little world they live in.

Why I chose this poem.

I chose this poem because it kind of hit a soft spot for me. I love working with kids and seeing the smile on there faces when something good comes to them. When a child is suffering it breaks my heart because they we're put on this earth for a purpose. There purpose was not to be ignored by people who they thought loved them. All kids want is to be loved and appreciated they want to feel safe and secure. They want to be loved and always know that someone cares about them.

Song Lyrics

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me, what's my lesson?
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world, mad world, mad world, mad world

Connection between the poem and song

The poem and the song are connected by the idea that they both portray. We are to caught up in our lives that we can't enjoy what's around us, or the situations that some people are going through. It's a mad world because we go day by day enjoying what we have and not realizing that other people are not as fortunate as us. Some may be hurting or homeless and starving, but we don't do anything to help them because we are to focused on ourselves. We need to take just a minute out of our day to help someone else and it won't be a mad world.

My Poem

Everyday I pass. I pass by the girl with the blond matted hair and withered skin.

I want to stop but I'm in a hurry. I see her watching me pass her, her eyes sad and worried.

I feel her pain and suffering, when she looks at me I can see it in her face. She needs love.


The day has come, I didn't pass...I stopped. I took her hand and made the one promise I would never break. From that day on she was happy and I was happy. The little girl with matted hair and withered skin did not exist anymore. Now she is the girl that knows what love and compassion is. She is the girl that hurts no more.