Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep is a poem written in 1932 by poet Mary Elizabeth Frye. It’s a very famous poem (and Frye’s only surviving work), that most people will know or recognise if mentioned or recited to them. It was scribbled on a plastic bag in a moment of spontaneous inspiration, to comfort a friend of Frye’s who has recently had their mother pass away. Originally, no one knew where the poem originated from, or who wrote it. It was only in 1998 when journalist Abigail Van Buren confirmed it was in fact, after research and investigation, Frye who had penned the poem. The poem is written from the perspective of someone who has passed, talking to a lover, friend, or family member, about how they shouldn’t miss them because they are in fact not dead, and their soul has transferred to watch over them. “I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow.”

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.

This poem is very simple, and not particularly filled with extravagant language. It’s a very simple poem for a complicated, yet calming and peaceful, concept – the existence of a human soul after their body has perished. The language used in the poem is very simple and peaceful; soft language used in a poem meant to serve as a reassurance, a shoulder to lay your head on. This is the only poem I’m using which consistently rhymes the whole way throughout. The other three poems either are not rhyming poems, or rhyme inconsistently – some sections rhyming in couplets or otherwise, but overall not having a rhyming rhythm. This poem rhymes predominately in couplets, as in, every two lines rhyming. This serves as a comforting pace to the poem, one with soothes the reader and eases them through a poem that, without rhyme or erratic rhyming patterns, would feel much more bittersweet.

I decided to choose this poem because I really liked the way it flowed, and the imagery it conjures up in the reader’s mind. It’s also a very comforting read, one that makes you feel warm and happy, despite the subject being a loved one lost. This poem was perhaps the easiest to translate into film out of the four, because it has a very clear story behind it which can be transferred from page to the screen and still have the same effect.

Sources [2017]. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 4 June 2017].


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