Study Guide

Ballad of Birmingham Stanza 8

By Dudley Randall

Stanza 8

Lines 29-32

She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
"O, here's the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?"

  • History tells us that four young girls died in the bombing of the church in Birmingham. 
  • The child's shoe is all that the mother can find in the rubble. It's also a symbol of the loss of life, and of innocence. 
  • The poem ends with the mother's cries as she searches for her daughter, whom we can assume has died in the bombing.
  • The poem stops short of confirming this for us, though. Instead, we're left with the cries of a grief-stricken mother.