by Pa Rock
The following piece has a clouded history, but is usually credited to Mary Elizabeth Frye. I first came across it in the early 1990's in the state capitol at Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I noticed it printed on a block of the National AIDS Quilt that was touring the United States. Since that time I have seen it used occasionally on memorial cards at funerals, and it is the selection that Gail and I have chosen to go on our father's memorial card.
To me this poem symbolizes the idea that we are all at one with nature - each of us is part of the great cosmic hum, and just because we leave one form of life does not mean that we are gone. Indeed, life ripples ever outward like the cosmos itself, and each of us rides those waves beyond our own time - through the lives that we touched, our offspring and descendants, our works, the humanity we fostered, and all of the harmony (or noise) that we generated during our mortal time on the planet. Heaven isn't a cushy seat on a cloud with a good view, it's one note played well in the symphony of life.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
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 and cry,
I am not there. I did not die.