Ring Around the Rosie

August 28, 2005

“Ring Around the Rosie” is a child’s nursery rhyme which pertains to death (or does it?). I always wondered about the meaning of a “pocket full of posies” and “ashes, ashes, we all fall down”, but one look here will make it all clear.

This statue of children playing I found in a park in Needham, MA. There is an empty space between the two children on the far right side of the picture, inviting you in to play. Kind of a strange image in many ways. Do you see the look of horror on the children’s faces? Or is that just my imagination? Why do faces in extreme joyfulness take on twinges of painful hysteria?


  1. thief.

  2. I prefer to say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery….

  3. love your new fall-themed header!

  4. Hey you changed the looks of your site! Looks good. How did you prevent the leaves from flying??

  5. Part of a grand master plan to have photos for each season… and to change the colors of the sides with the changing seasons as well…

    As for the photo, I have to recommend http://letterjames.de as a great resource. The “doctored” pictures all come from there.

  6. A pocket full of posies is referring to a pocket full of puss, and ashes ashes we all fall down is also talking about the children dying and everyone else. Oh and the poem is based on the Black Death also known as the Bubonic Plague, Y-pestis.

  7. I learned from my teacher that “A pocket full of posies ” refers to a flower that people would put on the graves of people who died of the Black Death.The “ashes ashes we all fall down” is used because they would pile the bodies up and burn them until only ashes were left so they wouldnt have to smell the horrible roting corpses for weeks.
    (sorry if my spelling is hard to read i am only 12)

  8. Hey guys, Haven´t you hear “shoots and ladders” from Korn? They sing this child´s rhyme in that song. I haven´t given it a lot of importance till I hear that rhyme in an Edgar Allan Poe’s work of Theatre (well only a version of the author). I wanted investigate about it and now I think that I understand a bit more the song.

    Is´t it too terrorific??? Children singing about the death, the hunger, the destruction, … I´m almost sure that I´m feeling like them

  9. “pockets full of posies” is about how they would fill their pockets with posies because they thought the sent would purify the “bad air” that transmitted the plague. as for “ashes ashes we all fall down” im not 100% on this but im fairly sure its because by the final stages nearly your entire body is covered by black skin which most likely looks a lot like ash. then “we all fall down” well the person dies.

  10. oh and about Korn’s song. that song is awesome. i like how it put the true evil behind those nursery rhyme out in the light for people to realize it.

  11. but when was this statue built?

  12. Sorry to disappoint the theorists…

  13. “pockets full of posies” refers to the people filling their pockets with posies because they thought the sent would purify the “bad air” that transmitted the plague. as for “ashes ashes” refers to the dead bodies that they would burn and “we all fall down” refers to the eventual death that they thought would come

  14. the bubos (raised infected areas) turned red, and a necrotic line of tissue formed around it. ashes ashes refers to the black lungs from the pneumonic form of the plague, we all fall down is fairly obvious. 1/3 to 1/2 of europe’s population in just over 4 years….

  15. did u kno millions of people died during the black death not many people survied. so a pockful of posies means the puss filled buboes. ashes ashes we all fall down means all the kids and adults dying ond the fever that took their lives.

  16. i heard that the first line ring around the rosie refers to the rose-colored disclouration of the skin and flesh caused by the plague. the skin turns purple then black most often in extremities….. the second line a pocket full of posies refers to the sweet smelling flowers that those who were tending to the sick would carry to help ward off the stench of the disease and deaths…… the third line ashes ahses is about the impending death…. alternative line a-chh a-choo refers to the sneezing and couching of the pneumonic form of the plague the one thats is in the lungs….. then the final line we all fall down simply refers to death itslef….. thats what i heard and what i was taught…..

  17. ring around the rosies: “ring around the roses”refers to the red cirlce or ring( that was a rosy color) you would get on a part of your body signifying that you were infected. well” a pocket full of posies(flowers)”refers to when people would put flowers in there pocket because they though the smell of death was around them(from all the dead bodies) and they thought they could catch it by breathing it in. “ashes ashes” refers to the creamation of the bodies that back then they would use to kill the rats(that carried the fleas that carried the plague) and of coarse we all know that “we all fall down” was when the people who had this terrible disease finally died.

  18. The ring of rosies refers to the rose-shaped splotches that surrounded the neck and shoulders of the plague victims. Posies were flowers that people tucked into their pockets hoping to ward off the evil spirits. “Achoo” refers to the fits of sneezing that accompany plague; and the last line, saddest of all, refers to the death that claimed so many plague victims.

  19. what happened 2 rose and why did she die dont lie cause i already know bout the BUBONIC PLAQUE

  20. that pic is so adorable!

  21. ring around the rosie is a death song do you agree?

  22. yes it is, a ring around a rosie means u wud get a disease that causes rings in places that wud b sweaty, like the back of ur knees, ur armpits places like that, a pocket full of posie was an herb that people would smell which covered the horrible scent of the disease. ashes ashes means they wud burn the people because there is still the threat of the disease spreading after the person dies, and we all fall down means many people died. so yes it is a death song. remember that next time you go around in circles holding a 3 year-old’s hand. kinda sickening.

  23. srry adding to my comment, u would get the red rings in other places 2, and i dont know if posie was a flower or an herb, but it was not puss…i know that for a fact. and the picture is kinda creepy, but interesting how u can join in 2…maybe they sang the song holding hands jumping around in a circle while the corpses burned in a big heap…weird

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