Do not stand at my grave and weep
Music: Frances Cockburn, Words: Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905–2004)
Performance time approx: 1m 10s
Range S: c' – f'' / A: b♭ – a' / T: f – d' / B: G – f
Price code: A
The lyrics to this song have become a very popular text for reading at funerals, and were for a long time regarded as ‘anonymous’. It was fairly recently discovered that the lines were actually written by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905 – 2004), an American woman born in Ohio and orphaned at an early age. She circulated many copies of the poem during her lifetime, and never copyrighted it.
The poem became widely known in the UK after being read at the funeral of a soldier killed in Northern Ireland. He had left a copy of it among his personal effects, in an envelope addressed to ‘all my loved ones’. The poem’s authorship was eventually traced through the efforts of the American advice columnist Abigail von Buren.
In Frances Cockburn’s through-composed and hymn-like setting, all parts move together and the words speak powerfully for themselves.
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