The Hearse Song

Original Text: 
Carl Sandburg, The American Songbag (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 1927): 444. M 162 A657 1927 Music Library
1.2You don't know whether to laugh or cry;
1.3For you know some day it'll get you too,
1.4And the hearse's next load may consist of -- you.
1.5They'll take you out and they'll lower you down,
1.6While men with shovels stand all a-round;
1.7They'll throw in dirt and they'll throw in rocks,
1.8And they won't give a dam-m-m if they break the box.
1.9The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out,
1.10They crawl all over your chin and mouth,
1.11They invite their friends and their friends' friends too,
1.12And you look like hell when they're -- through -- with you.
2.2That some of these days you must surely die?
2.3They'll take you away in a big black hack,
2.4They'll take you away but won't bring you back.
2.5The men with shovels stand all around.
2.6They shovel you into that cold, wet ground.
2.7They shovel in dirt and they throw in rocks.
2.8They don't give a dam if they break the box.
2.9And your eyes drop out and your teeth fall in
2.10And the worms crawl over your mouth and chin;
2.11And the worms crawl out and the worms crawl in
2.12And your limbs drop off of you limb by limb.

Notes

1.1] Version courtesy of James Stevens, Irma H. Thrane, and W. W. Woodbridge, Washington. Back to Line
2.1] Version courtesy of Jake Zeitlin of Los Angeles and Fort Worth. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001.
Rhyme: