“Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep”
Mary Elizabeth Frye
(1) Do not stand at my grave and weep
(2) I am not there. I do not sleep.
(3) I am a thousand winds that blow.
(4) I am the diamond glints on snow.
(5) I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
(6) I am the gentle autumn rain.
(7) When you awaken in the morning’s hush
(8) I am the swift uplifting rush
(9) Of quiet birds in circled flight.
(10) I am the soft stars that shine at night.
(11) Do not stand at my grave and cry;
(12) I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye was a peculiar poet. She was only really known for her poem “Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep”, which she didn’t claim ownership of until the late 1990’s. She had written the poem on a brown paper bag, and due to the reaction to readers, she made more copies and circulated them privately.
Poetic Technique
Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
Almost the entirety of “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” is a metaphor. Lines 3 through 10 are all metaphors for what death really is to Mary Frye. “I am the sunlight on ripened grain,” and ” I am the gentle autumn rain” are both samples of metaphors in the poem. By consistently saying “I am” rather than including words such as like or as, Frye is putting it in the mind that she is the literal object to which she compares herself to.
This poem almost brings back to life the consciousness of a person who has passed. He or she seems to be saddened by the immense amount of mourning that is happening over his or her grave.
The poem is asking whomever may mourn for this person after they die to not stand at the grave and cry for him or her, because he or she will not be in the grave. This person believes that his or her body and soul will become part of nature and apart of the lives that we live every day. That life will still go on as if he or she were still alive. That he or she are not really dead, but just living life in a new way. So, because he or she believes that he or she will still be alive and a part of life, he or she doesn’t want people grieving for him or her as if he or she no longer exist. He or she does not want people to be sad.
By becoming the “thousand winds that blow” or the “gentle autumn rain,” this person believes that he or she will not die per se, but live in a new way. This person believes that rather than everything coming to an end, he or she will envelop nature and the natural world, and in effect, being around the people he or she loved most dearly. By becoming the nature around him or her, mourning is pointless. This person will live on in the memories of his or her beloved, and take on the role of natural beauty.


do not stand at my grave and weep visual
Visual Explanation
This visual shows a weeping angel at the grave of someone who has passed. We do not know for sure if this angel is meant to represent the grief of a loss of a loved one, or if it is meant to represent the pain of the person leaving the world. This image shows a contradiction to the poem, because in the poem, Frye says, “do not stand at my grave and cry.” However, the crying is symbolic. The emission of grief in this form is most common at funerals. The death of a loved one always focuses on the death itself, rather than the person. Funerals are meant to be the celebration of a person’s life, and instead, we’ve turned them into a pain greater than our emotions can handle. By crying about someone’s death, we lose the reality that that person is not entirely dead. Like in the poem, that person is in the wind, the snow, and the rain. People may die, but the soul of that person lives on forever in someone’s heart. Their “grace” is always with us, despite any religious beliefs. We should not stand at someone’s grave and weep, we should stand at their grave and notice the life around us.

One thought on “Metaphor

  1. Powerful entry. I want to work with you next year on a grammar issue that is marring your otherwise beautiful written expression. Let’s plan to work on this issue when school resumes.

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