Immortality: The Poem

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.

— by Clare Harner

This week, I added a new video to my YouTube channel; it’s what I’m calling an illustrated reading of this poem. As you can see, the poem itself is quite short, but its imagery is so profound that I thought this might be an appropriate way to present it to you.

For those of you who may not yet know, my daughter Valerie, my only child, died in early 2022. Not long after, I created a montage of photos of Valerie, and added this poem to it. (You’ll see this montage at the end of the video, and part of it is visible in the video cover above).

As I mention in my introduction in this video, when I originally started using this poem as part of the montage I created, I put Mary Elizabeth Frye as the author. This is incorrect; Clare Harner is the true author of this beautiful poem. The montage with the incorrect author name had already been used at the end of my first 3 YouTube videos, but I have now corrected this on the montage image, which I’ll use going forward.

This poem, which I only discovered myself less than 2 months before Valerie died, speaks so eloquently of life after the physical body dies. I loved the idea, in theory, when Valerie and I first read this poem together, but I think it may be a little too soon for me to truly appreciate this in reality. I still long for Valerie’s presence as the most highly valued person in my life.

But it does bring me some comfort. In fact, just yesterday morning (the day after I posted the poem video), which dawned cold but sunny with gusting winds, snow started blowing off the buildings and swirling in clouds around my deck, and I realized I was looking at “diamond glints on snow” — it was like flying glitter. (I’ve posted a video of this on Instagram.) Valerie would have loved it as much as she loved this poem.

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