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 awake in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die.
There are several versions of this poem, including one that ends “I am in the flowers that bloom, I am in a quiet room, I am in the birds that sing, I am in each lovely thing – Do not stand at my grave bereft, I am not there, I have not left.”. Mary Frye wrote it in Baltimore in 1932. She had never written any poetry but was touched by the plight of a young German Jewish woman, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who was staying with her and her husband. Margaret had been concerned about her mother, who was ill in Germany, but had been warned not to return home because of increasing anti-semitic unrest. When her mother died, the heartbroken young woman told Mary that she never had the chance to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear”. Frye found herself composing a piece of verse on a brown paper shopping bag. Later she said that the words “just came to her” and expressed what she felt about life and death.