The Little Match Girl

Stave 1

 Bareheaded and barefoot,

Frozen to the bone,

A little match girl walked

In the wintry night alone;

She had lost her slippers

In the deepening snow.

The pocket of her apron,

Ragged, thin and wet,

Held a bundle of matches

Waiting to be lit.

She feared a painful beating –

She hadn’t sold a match all day

And knew her hungry father

Would make her pay.

Snowflakes settled on her hair

As she gazed in windows bright,

Drawn by the scent of roast goose;

Enchanted by the light.

In a niche between two houses

The match girl made her bed.

She struck a match: a tiny candle

In the cup of her numb hands

Became a fire in a shiny stove,

So blissfully warm

That she stretched out her toes

To nothing – the match was dead.

Little Match Girl Stave 1

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Stave 2

The match girl struck

Another stick of light;

It glowed so bright

It melted the wall of a house.

Through its transparency

She could clearly see

A table with a dazzling white cloth

Fine porcelain gleaming

A roast goose steaming,

Stuffed with apples and prunes.

The little match girl reached out

An ice cold hand –

And the match was spent.

Little Match Girl Stave 2

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Stave 3

She struck match number three

And the match girl found herself

Under a Christmas tree,

With a thousand candles

Burning on its green boughs.

As she reached out

To the exquisite light,

The Christmas candles

Rose and became bright

Stars – one


And burnt a long fiery path

In the sky.

She thought,

Someone is dying now,

Remembering how

Her grandmother

Used to say:

When a star falls,

A soul rises up to God.


Match Girl Stave 3

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Stave 4

The little match girl struck another

Match against the wall;

From its flame her grandmother

Shone bright, glittering and mild.

‘Take me with you!’ cried the child.

‘When the match is spent,

You’ll be gone.’

Her numb fingers fumbled

As she struck the matches

Remaining in the bundle,

One by one.

In the arms of her grandmother

They ascended together

Before the sun

Rose over the frozen figure,

Spent matches clutched closely

To her heart.


Little Match Girl Stave 4

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© Kim M. Russell, 2015