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A poem to help when grief overwhelms

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Home Forums Helping Hand A poem to help when grief overwhelms

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  • #20149

    I found this poem so helpful, I hope some on the forum may find it helps, too.

    It is by Mary Elizabeth Frye, and is titled “Do not stand at my grave and weep”. It helped me after the death of my father whilst I was overseas, not being able to visit his grave became a form of guilt I struggled to tackle. This poem helped me see him, and feel him, in the world around me. I hope it helps someone else, as much as it helped me.

    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.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #20152

    Hi @VM-Mancha1 – thank you for sharing this beautiful and poignant poem. I too believe it will provide comfort to many members in our community.

    I love the visual imagery it evokes – especially ‘the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight’…so often we hear of people receiving visits from their loved ones in the form of birds …or butterflies. Flying in and out of our days, sometimes just for the first few weeks, other times coming and going over the years…

    And there are other ways we might feel their presence if we are ready and open to it. Its nice to know they are still with us just in a different form. 🦋


    Hello, this is the poem I read at my fathers’ funeral. It speaks to me as I feel his presence around me all the time in nature. For example, he used to feed the birds so when they pop by to continue the tradition, I sense him near. I don’t personally find comfort visiting his grave site, as he’s not there…
    I find a lot of comfort in poetry, I like to write myself. I would like share the most precious poem to me. It has soothed my aching soul a thousand times.
    It is one of 2 poems I read at my sons’ recent funeral. We always had hope we would overcome his disease, and although that hope has gone, it captures perfectly his humility.
    Please little bird come sing to me ….


    “Hope” is the thing with Feathers –
    That perches in the soul –
    And sings the tune without the words-
    And never stops – at all –

    And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
    And sore must be the storm –
    That could abash the little Bird
    That kept so many warm –

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
    And on the strangest Sea –
    Yet, never, in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb – of Me.


    Here is the second poem I read at my son’s funeral. Well actually I only managed to recite the last paragraph.
    I remember my year 10 commerce teacher handing this to me on my last day of high school. Just those last 4 lines. I still carry it in my wallet.
    Although I understood at the time, he was acknowledging the struggles I had having lost my mother suddenly in year 7, I never actually researched the poem. I thought he’d written those words just for me. I googled the lines, thinking they’d inspire me to write my own poem for my sons’ funeral and realized they are from a famous poet:

    FAREWELL, Walter de la Mare

    When I lie where shades of darkness
    Shall no more assail mine eyes,
    Nor the rain make lamentation
    When the wind sighs;
    How will fare the world whose wonder
    Was the very proof of me ?
    Memory fades, must the remembered perishing be ?

    Oh, when this my dust surrenders
    Hand, foot, lip, to dust again,
    May these loved and loving faces
    Please other men !
    May the the rustling harvest hedgerow
    Still the Travellers’ Joy entwine,
    And as happy children gather
    Posies once mine.

    Look the last on all things lovely,
    Every hour. Let no night
    Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
    Till to delight
    Thou have paid thy utmost blessing;
    Since that all things thou woudst praise
    Beauty took from those who love them
    In other days


    Hi @Jezza,

    those are wonderful poems, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing them with us, I particularly loved this part:

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
    And on the strangest Sea –
    Yet, never, in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb – of Me.

    It is so true, hope is there always, in the darkest places and the darkest hour and never requires of us more than our attention to it’s song; should we but choose to listen.

    Thank you once more for sharing these, I am sure you’ve helped many, here.


    Are songs also allowed here – sounds like poetry to me.
    Watched this movie again recently.. although he’s singing about his wife,
    I could sing the same words to my son xxx


    Hi @Jezza, the poems you shared are beautiful. Thank you for posting them. It’s wonderful that you find comfort in poetry and like to write your own. I also like to write to work through my grief and feelings, though I tend to write stories or my journal rather than poetry. Creativity is such a wonderful way to deal with our grief and emotions.
    Take care


    My son sent me this , a few days before he died, says everything xx


    My son sent me this , a few days before he died, says everything xx

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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