T H E  W I L D   L I L Y   I N S T I T U T E

Love In the Time of Plague

Global Awareness 

I give you the gift of poetry . . .

--Emily Isaacson

The Little Match Girl

In the dark, a little girl in a cotton shawl

struck a match to keep warm.

It illumined the stone structure

of the Peace Tower she leaned against,

the gargoyles against the night sky.

Gothic architecture

reaching almost to heaven

stretched its lacy fingers,

blotting the stars with its handkerchief—

its rhetorical icons

simmering prayers in the shadows.

There was a patchwork quilt

of nations, that had grown faded

with the rain and snow,

of the many colours of skin

that made up the face of a country,

of the many films from the National Film Board.

A match box was ten cents;

a passerby gave her a dime

as she stood in the gutter,

and she collected them in her apron.

             --Emily Isaacson


"The Little Match Girl" is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. The story, about a dying child's dreams and hope, was first published in 1845. It has been adapted to various media, including animated and live-action films, television musicals, and video games. 


Visit Emily Isaacson's Websites during Pandemic Times: site map

Read our Book pics of the Month for featured reading.

The Great Depression

They used to tell me I was building a dream

With peace and glory ahead

Why should I be standing in line

Just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run

Made it race against time

Once I built a railroad, now it's done

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once I built a tower up to the sun

Brick and rivet and lime

Once I built a tower, now it's done

Brother, can you spare a dime?


Sung by Bing Crosby. Songwriters: E. Y. Harburg / Jay Gorney

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Next Decade Entertainment, Inc.


Buy Emily's Poetry Books   

Read her chosen contemplations