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“Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep” – An 84-Year-Old Poem That Has Comforted Millions

Written in 1932, several renditions and versions of this particular poem have surfaced in the nearly 100 years since it has been written. Pop songs, choral compositions, artworks, and recitations have drawn inspiration from the central theme of these specific lines of poetry.

Originally written by May Elizabeth Frye, a florist in Baltimore. At the time, a German-Jewish woman was staying with Frye and her husband, but was unable to visit her ailing mother in Germany due to the unrest in the country at that time. When the woman’s mother died, she expressed to Frye that she never had the chance to mourn her mother, that she never got to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear.”

Frye was struck by inspiration and jotted down a poem that came to her on a brown paper shopping bag. She didn’t have it published, but circulated it among her friends and family. Upon her death, it was attributed to her and has inspired millions ever since.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.


 


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