My Child is Gone

MY CHILD IS GONE — Slavery Song

Hark! from the winds a voice of woe,
The wild Atlantic in its flow,
Bears on its breast the murmur low,
My child is gone!

Like savage tigers o’er their prey,
They tore him from my heart away;
And now I cry, by night by day–
My child is gone!

How many a free-born babe is press’d
With fondness to its mother’s breast,
And rocked upon her arms to rest,
While mine is gone!

No longer now, at eve I see,
Beneath the sheltering plantain tree,
My baby cradled on my knee,
For he is gone!

And when I seek my cot at night,
There’s not a thing that meets my sight,
But tells me that my soul’s delight,
My child, is gone!

I sink to sleep, and then I seem
To hear again his parting scream
I start and wake–’tis but a dream–
My child _is_ gone!

Gone–till my toils and griefs are o’er,
And I shall reach that happy shore,
Where negro mothers cry no more–
My child is gone!

79 responses to “My Child is Gone

  1. This is totally impacting. It most has been really traumatic to know that your child was sold to be a slave. I cannot possible imagine how it feels to lose a child. While reading this I was only able to picture my mom suffering to a point of death because of my absence.

  2. This poem is really touching, what is even more sad is that many african american slave women went through this in the slavery days. It is a horrible act to take away someones freedom, it is sad that even a baby was taken away its freedom at that time. I can truly feel this womens pain , her words are so touching and heartfelt.

  3. These words are so moving. I can’t even believe to imagine how it must feel to lose a child. I know that if I lost my baby girl I would literally go insane!!! She is my whole world, my one constant. And reading these words…I can feel the pain of this woman. Her child was ripped from her arms and it made me a little teary eyed, but it reminded me of the movie I just saw last night. I saw 12 Years A Slave and in one of the scene’s it shows a mother being taken away from her children because she was sold separately than her kids. She didn’t even get to say goodbye, no last hugs or kisses. She was just dragged out the door. It was heartbreaking because this would happen all the time during the years of slavery. No matter if I go to school, to lab, work, drop off my daughter at school, or run an errand I always always give my daughter hugs and kisses and tell her I love her because I know that when I walk out that door, or get into my car without her there’s a chance I may never see her again. It may sound negative, but it’s true…you never know if you’re going to get into a crash or that something bad could happen. This song is what probably helped the woman get through her days and nights. It’s what kept her strong, and it is also a reminder for us of the injustice she experienced.

  4. I can’t even fathom the hurt of losing a child.

  5. Christopher Rodriguez

    It must be impossible to live the rest of your life being kept apart from your children. Poor woman it’s unbelievably unfair the way that slaves were treated because of their skin color.

  6. That is one fear that a parent never wants to bear, losing a child, to never know what happened to a part of you, that is the worst pain anybody could be put through, but to think that over a million of mothers and fathers in this land were put in that postion:it is sad.

  7. I do not have a child, but I can only imagine if I lost one of my brothers. The pain jumps out from the poem and its very interesting.

  8. I couldn’t bare to be parted with my mom.

  9. This poem stirs up an internal emotion and impact. My Mom is my favorite and most important person in my life and I can’t imagine not being able to see her or talk to her. To take away a woman’s child is horrible and this poem is the epitome of what it must feel like to have this happen.

  10. This just brings to me the pain that I see in mothers including my own. Just the other night my brother, who is 18 years-old, was telling me how my mom prepared him this really amazing lunch for work and I laughed and told that the only reason that lunch was so good was because it was prepared with a lot of love and that my mom loves him like he’ll never love himself and that he is lazy. But, seriously it has be hard to have a child and then have it taken away from you.

  11. This is such a touching peom. I could not even imagine as a mother how it would feel to lose a child. This woman had went through a tough struggle and you can tell by her words that she will never be the same again. It saddens me to know some of the cruel acts that have gone on in this world, and it takes someone incredibly strong to make it through these struggles.

  12. I do not have a child of my own, but I can only imagine the loss of something similar to so, such as my dog. It is not the same whereas my dog is not of my blood and seed, but I treat him like my baby boy so if he were to be in pain, then I’d be in pain.

  13. It is a sad and depressing poem because of the message it is trying to convey. The rhetorical device that the speaker uses is repetition. He or she uses this to express the feeling of losing a love one.

  14. This is extremely sad. For a women to lose her child that is one of the worst things that can happen.

  15. This is sad it almost made me cry while sitting in the WRC. I can only imagine how much pain a mom is in when their child is taken from them.

  16. This is such a sad and heartbreaking poem. Nothing is worse then your child in pain or missing. The feeling of being useless to a person you love or care for is probably one of the worse feelings ever.

  17. This is a sad poem. As a mother, I can imagine the pain of having your child taken away from you. Having a kid is the most precious thing in the world. Children become your first priority. You want to give the best you can to your children. You want more for your kids than what was given to you. All these great goals you have and visions of happy moments for the future taken away in a second is an enormous pain.

  18. A mother’s bond with its child is strong. No matter the color of their skin. I don’t have a child but I do feel the emotions behind this poem. It hurts to visualize a bundle of joy in my arms then all of sudden its gone. The love and care the women had for her child fades into a memory. And then to look at other mothers just to be reminded her child is gone.

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  20. It is a very emotional poem , and is very sad a child being taking from her mother . i could only image the pain and suffering.

  21. This is very sad. You can only imagin the pain this women feels. To have a child taken from you would be one of the worse feelings ever. This is highly unfair.

  22. This is really upsetting. Parents are supposed to go before their children. This mother sounds like she is in so much pain.

    • This makes me feel so sorry for all the pain a mother goes through to give birth and someone taking them away from them. I would be devastated if that ever happened to me. The bond between a loving mother and her child should never be taken away.

  23. Wow, that made me feel bad for mother that lost her child. I know how mother could not forget her children, because she got lots of memorized while she held her own baby.

  24. How awful it is to lose your only child. I could not imagine having a kid and then out of no where they fade away slowly in front of you. It makes me think of the many young kids who have been killed by a mother or father on drugs or the times a baby is born and within weeks becomes ill and leaves a mother in tears.

  25. Loosing a child is probably the hardest thing for a parent to do. I have never lost a child because i do not have kids but i have lost a dog who was a member of the family and that was very hard. But loosing a child i would imagine would be way harder. I hope i never experience that pain.

  26. This makes me incredibly sad. It’s terrible that slave mothers had to go thorugh the pain of having their child taken from them, and they didn’t have the power to stop it.

  27. This is a very sad poem. I dont have children myself, but I would feel the same if it were anyone in my family.

  28. SO SAD! This has to be one of the most heartbreaking things that can happen in life. It doesn’t have to be a mother, but this poem should make people not take their loved ones for granted.

  29. I Can’t imagine what it feels like to lose your own child. It’s devastating how families would be seperated when slavery was going on! this poem is so sad and give good imagery to how the mother feels.

  30. I dont know what I would do if I lost a child. The pain must be the worste. I wouldn’t wish that to happen to anybody.

  31. That’s a really sad poem. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how she felt.It’s terrible how slave songs have to be so sad, lonely, and traumatic.

  32. This is a sad song. I cant imagine what it is to lose a child. I have talked to people that have had their kids passed away and they have said to me that it is the most devastating thing a parent can go through.

  33. I couldn’t imagine as a parent what it would be like to lose her child. I know if my mom would ever lose any of her kids she would be more than devastated. She probably wouldn’t know what to do. This is a sad poem. Nothing can mean more important to a mother than her child.

  34. I believe i once read how Sojourner Truth sang this song. This song is touching and i can feel the pain. I couldn’t imagine how it would feel as a parent to have your child taken. I’m blessed that i don’t have to live in this era where such cruel things were done to families.

  35. I can’t start to imagine what it would be like to lose a child. I asked my mom what would she feel if she lost one of her 5 children and she won’t even bare to think about it and then I see those mothers who have and its debastating. However some seem to come to their senses and realize they are in a better place now.

  36. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be a parent who has lost their child for any reason. It must be the worst feeling.

  37. This is such a sad poem. I love the way she wrote it but I hate the message and story it tells. People think America is bad now a days, imagine how horrid it was back in the days. No child should ever be taken from their mother whether it be at birth or at 14 years old. This is just sad.

  38. This makes me grateful for the progress that America has made, even though racism still exist we still have come a long way. It brings me pride for my ancestry, I could not even imagine carrying a child nine months just to have them ripped away from me and there is nothing that I can do, I have no say so of my own child…This poem brings a sense of gratefulness and a great deal of respect.

  39. This is just another reminder to me that poems are not just a chore to complete in class but are a real way to express oneself. I sense much grief and despair in this woman and for good reason. I think what i can take out of this poem is to hold tight to the ones we love and cherish every moment with them because life is fragile and can be flipped upside down in an instant

  40. This must be extremely hurtful for the mothers or fathers having to endure their child going through any sort of pain. If i was a parent I would hate the fact of my child being taken away from my life.

  41. When you read that poem in class Professor, I knew I wasn’t a parent, but I lamented with this poem because I related it to my childhood which was non existent for the most part.

  42. after reading this poem you can hear the pain in her words of how her child was taken away from her. it shows that we should appreciate what we have right in front of us and not take things for granted.

  43. I have read this poem once before and I am not a parent but I can feel this woman’s pain. No one should be aloud to take a mothers baby, especially for that purpose. This makes me think about how lucky we are that this isn’t still going on today.

  44. i love this poem because it relates to all the stories my grandmother use to tell me about how she was seperated from her sister and mother because of her skin color. my grandmother is creole but she hold more features of a french lady she has blonde hair and blue eyes now her sister is creole also but she hold features of a black lady and becuae of this my grandmother couldnt go to the same school as her own sister nor could they live together my grandmother was taken and sent to lousiana to live with a family of the same color. i find that really sad and i could only imagin the pain of my great grandmother.

  45. This is a touching poem and as a male i wouldnt be able to imagine the pain of a mother having her child taken away from her but i know that there would nothing worse in the world.

  46. Its sad to know that back in the days people just didnt care. When your child means so much to you and just because the color of your skin people feel your emotions dont matter. Taking a child away from their mother is heartbreaking.

  47. I can feel the pain this woman is going through because her child is gone. I’am not a mother, but the love I have for my mother is unconditional. I can picture the sadness this mother is going through.

  48. This Poem makes me think about how hard it must have been back then! Some people think things are hard now, but imagine being a slave? I am not a mother yet, but it still make me cringe to read this poem over and over again!

  49. I can’t even imagine how hard times must have been back then. Not only did they have to endure slavery but also with the other downfalls it came with such as losing your own child. It is very sad to see someone go through that let alone be held in captivity in the mean time.

  50. This is such a sad poem, I can only imagine what its like losing your child that you care so much for.

  51. This is so sad! I don’t understand how they can just take a persons child. I am not a mother yet, but i can only imagine the pain she might be going through.

  52. This is a sad poem about how a mother feels with there child is taken away from them. I can not imaging the feeling of a parent must feel when there child is took away from them. They feel sad and empty with no one to help them because they child is gone forever.

  53. this is sad poem of losing a love one but it also opens our minds and reminds us how we do not appreciate little things and we take our loved ones for granted.

  54. This is another heart breaking story. I can’t imagine the feeling of losing a loved one, especially your very own child. The feeling is undescribable and one could never imagine unless having this happen to you. This feeling must have killed these mothers hearts. Although slavery does not exist in the United States any longer, kidnapping and murdering does. The thought of this happening to a loved one of mine, truly sickens my stomach! God bless!

  55. I think this can be a very overlooked part of slavery. When I think of the topic I think about all the hardships and tales of escape attempt, but never really the feelings of the mothers who get their children taken away from them. This must be a horrible feeling and something no should should experience.

  56. I too sang this song in my high school choir in the early 1950s; we won first place in a state competition for our rendidition. It also made me cry and I have never forgotten the message. I wish I could find a YOUTUBE version of the music for my students.

  57. I found this site as a result of searching for this favorite song that I sang in high school choir. It is so beautiful and profoundly emotional. Almost impossible to sing without tearing up every time. I did a search on youtube for it without success. I know that the author of the (poem/song) is unknown, but could you post any more details, perhaps even a name of a publisher of the song? If people could hear it who visit your page, that would be powerful. Thanks for posting it; I couldn’t remember all the words after 20 years!

  58. I’m not a parent but I can definitely understand the heartbreak that the woman is going through. I can’t imagine the amount of sorrow I would have after losing any one of my family members. I would think it’d be worse yet if they were not taken naturally by death, but rather stripped by other human beings.

  59. This poem is very sad and emotional. I am not a mother but i cannot imagine something that is from your own flesh and blood being ripped from you.

  60. This is so sad…there is nothing that compares to a mother’s love and I would be distraught if something ever happened to my children. My kids are my life so is someone messes with my kids, they mess with me!!

  61. this poem/negro spiritual was very powerful in my research paper on Sojourner Truth is really is a light on her life and the things she went through as a slave.

  62. Really sad poem, it must have been difficult to bear a child for 9months and lose them in a blink of an eye.

  63. Wow! such an amazing poem. It’s so sad. I cannot imagine what it must feel to have a child taken away from a mother.

  64. This is really lamenting at its best, loved the poem

  65. this poem is very sad, one of the saddest poems i’ve ever read, makes me think about all the mothers that lost there children and how they feel

  66. It is hard to imagine a time when people could willingly take a persons baby away from their mother without a second thought. This poem made me really think about how much struggle slaves had to deal with.

  67. A very depressing poem. Just to even think to being able to relate to what that women may even be going through is just very depressing.

  68. This reminds me of the movie Tarzan. In the beginning of the movie the mother gorilla had her child taken away and she felt empty inside.

  69. Reading this gave me goosebumps. I can only imagine how mothers that have experienced this must have felt; the unfairness of it all and the cruelty of children being ripped away from their mothers is heart wrenching.

  70. in my case, it breaks my heart to be in the other side of this poem (as the kid). Last time i saw my mother was in the parking lot of an airport about six years ago. i have not seen her again. i know it might not be as painful for her, but to imagine what she felt that night, its horrible.

  71. This is a very sad poem and i cannot imagine what the feeling is like. Its probably the worst feeling a parent would ever have to go through.

  72. The evils in this world are never ending. This poem certainly shows the sorrow of a mother that has lost her child. This explains very well how any mother who has lost a child would feel.

  73. I could imagine how horrible she felt, that something so precious in her life just be taken away like that. Everyday is like a nightmare for her, knowing that her child is gone. She can’t see her own child grow up. It’s really sad.

  74. Not only is it terrible to lose your child, but image how terrible it must feel to be a pregnant slave expecting for your baby to be take away and sold.

  75. This poem is very sad. I am currently not a mother yet, however i could only imagine the devestation of your child being taken from you. Sometimes we just read through things not really understanding what the author is really conveying. We need to take a step back and meditate on the emotion behind the words.

  76. I cannot read this without breaking into tears. As a mother, nothing cuts deeper into your soul than hearing your child in any type of pain or anguish. I rather not imagine the pain of having your child ripped away from you. I thank God that this is not the case anymore.

  77. I remember this from when I was in the a Capella choir in high school–58 years ago. I’m looking for a music video to go with the words. Those of you who commented on Sojourner Truth may better understand her pain after you read this lament. This lament comes from 18th century America; the author is unknown. My choir director was an expert on traditional “negro spirituals,” a white man of Swedish decent who was also the choir director at the largest black church in Oakland California at the time.

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