Little Girl of Mary King's Close

Written by: Eleanor Fox

A little girl so coy and sweet Used to wander in the street Her little dress and shawl she’d wear She’d skip and run without a care Her hair about her face would fly As wind blew clouds across the sky The sun would shine above the city Warm upon her face so pretty There with friends she’d sing a song A ring-of-roses all day long Her doll she’d carry everywhere Made by her mam who'd brought her there Where had she gone, where was she now; To give her comfort, to cool her brow? Lying there upon her stretcher Desperate for mam to come and fetch her With pustules oozing, a putrid stink In inky blackness her eyes would blink She waited for the sound of feet Perhaps dry, stale bread for her to eat Shoved below the heavy door On a plate, upon the floor But she’d become too weak to stand To get the food she’d need a hand Fear of illness, fear of death Fear of such a young ones breath Prevented them from coming in Barred her from seeing friend or kin Stuffy and close the room was small No one seemed to care at all Her doll they’d wrenched out of her arms And burned it to avail their qualms No traces of disease would spread Remaining sealed away instead She longed again the world to see, She lay there waiting patiently She thought for her they’d surely come Her father a merry tune would hum Drifting in and out of sleep No more tears of loneliness to weep Nothing but a feeble moan For she was left there all alone Below the new you’ll find a room Timeworn and hidden in the gloom It’s there you’ll feel her presence nigh It’s there she lay abandoned to die When you have to leave and go Quiet footsteps behind you tiptoe She follows you a little way She waits for you to turn and say, “Take my hand and come with me. Into the light… walk, be free.” But solitary and confined she’s made to stay As aeons pass and flit away Forsaken child of the distant past, I pray God frees your soul at last.