Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Photograph of Okuncin graveyard – Thanks to RealBelgianWaffle


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 sun 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 circling 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.


Mary Frye, Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep – The “definitive version,” as published by The Times and The Sunday Times in Frye’s obituary, 5 November 2004.


QUOTES from a Wikipedia article regarding this poetry:

Mary Frye, who was living in Baltimore at the time, wrote the poem in 1932. She had never written any poetry, but the plight of a young German Jewish woman, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who was staying with her and her husband, inspired the poem. She wrote it down on a brown paper shopping bag. Margaret Schwarzkopf had been concerned about her mother, who was ill in Germany, but she had been warned not to return home because of increasing anti-Semitic unrest. When her mother died, the heartbroken young woman told Frye 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. Mary Frye circulated the poem privately. Because she never published or copyrighted it, there is no definitive version. She wrote other poems, but this, her first, endured. Her obituary in The Times made it clear that she was the author of the famous poem, which has been recited at funerals and on other appropriate occasions around the world for seventy years.

Do not stand at my grave and weep – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

At The Water’s Edge

I found once a raft
Made of seven sticks
Of the fairest, daintiest, cutest twigs

For her mast she had
The proudest yet
And her sails came forth
From the finest cloth

She was bound together
With ribbons and strings
What a sight to behold
She was truly something

She’d catch the wind in her sails
When I held her in my hands
And one day she softly said
“I’d like to see Distant Lands”

She was made for adventure
I knew she had to go
Though I loved my precious raft
Oh how I loved her so

So on a moonlit night
I gently set
My pretty raft
At the water’s edge

When my dear little raft
Tried to sail out to sea
The tide came in
And brought her back to me

I scooped her joyfully
With my open hands
But I knew she’d set her sights
On those Distant Lands

I cradled her in my arms
Whispered, “Shhh, do not fear”
Then I held her close to my heart
And waded into the water

We swam out together
Far into the sea
Where the tide could catch her no more
My raft drifted free

The next day at school
My teacher read
“The world is round…”
“What sails away will come back…”

It gave me hope
My heart jumped with delight
I waited daily
Upon the seaside

I wanted my raft back
Though tattered and torn
I would love her still
Even if her beauty’s gone

Everyday I played about
With the waves and the sun
And I watched the horizon
As days turned into months

Till a friend who was watching
Could bear it no longer
He strode up to me
Placed his hand on my shoulder

“Hey, look at me straight.”
“Don’t you be a fool.”
“Do you really believe…”
“What they’ve taught you in school?”

“Look! The world is flat!”
He waved into the distance
Then he turned and trudged home
As I stood in silence

Before I turned to go
I left my heart in the sand
In case my raft comes back

To the water’s edge
In the land
Of the one-eyed men.