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Burial Prayer

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

When I first came across this poem, years ago, it was credited as being an Old Indian Burial Prayer. The words are beautiful, speaking of life continuing in the spirit of nature. I think this may have been one of the first things that nudged me to consciously consider what might happen beyond physical death. The poem is so comforting... uplifting.... it's the one I went to straight away when my Mum died,  along with countless others who have chosen it to be read at funeral services! 

After I wrote it on a canvas recently, I realised that I had a couple of different versions scribbled in my notebooks, so went online to check the wording. That's when I found that the Burial Prayer is a poem written by Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932, in response to a Jewish friend saying that she couldn't return home to shed a tear at her mother's grave, due to the situation developing in Germany. It's hardly surprising that it's chosen so often for a funeral eulogy.

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.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

A request for something bright & uplifting inspired these versions, one on paper & one on canvas. The second one works fine as a print... just need to get a card version done now!


Ersi Marina Samara 20 November 2013 at 15:44  

A bit ashamed to say this but it made me cry. Very beautiful.

Suzi Smith 21 November 2013 at 19:48  

aww ersi... it is touching tho isn't it!?

Suzi Smith 21 November 2013 at 19:48  

aww ersi... it is touching tho isn't it!?

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