Poetry on a rainy day

We very nearly had some snow yesterday afternoon. A few flakes fell from the sky, and immediately polarised everybody that noticed – filling them with glee or dread. I might have murmured “it won’t settle” – and I was right. While news from the more northerly parts of the UK breathlessly reported an impending ice age, all the sky has delivered in the hereabouts today is a steady stream of depressingly grey drizzle.

I just got back from letting a friend’s dog out for a wee. She’s away for a couple of days, and asked if I would mind. I actually look forward to it – it’s a break from my day, and it’s a lovely dog. He’s quite elderly now, so doesn’t do much – but I get half a wag when he sees me coming, a begrudging trudge up the garden for a wee, and then all sorts of excitement when I make my way towards the kitchen cupboard where the dog treats live.

We always had dogs when I was growing up. During my younger years we had golden retrievers, and then during my 20s we had two enormous newfoundlands. I miss their characters, but I don’t miss the muddy footprints or slobber.


Today feels off, somehow.

Quite apart from still suffering with this stupid head-cold that’s now in the “let’s see how much snot I can make” phase, I read a post from an old friend this morning that caused me to stop what I was doing. She’s been battling cancer for the last several years, and has just decided to stop treatment – to enter hospice care. Her entire tone has changed recently – from fighting, to acceptance. She wrote a “goodbye” blog post. I don’t think I’ve known anybody approach the end of their story so calmly. I can’t imagine what her family are going through.

I’m reminded of the scene in Meet Joe Black, where Anthony Hopkins walks across the lawn of the party to meet Joe. I think it’s the quiet acceptance that hits home.

In the 1930s, Mary Elizabeth Frye wrote the following 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 glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain. 

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night. 

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!)

I can’t remember where I first heard it – or who recited it. It’s among the thousands of other bits and pieces I’ve picked up along the way, and put away for a rainy day. A day like today.

One reply on “Poetry on a rainy day”

I’ve shared that poem with others when the moment was apt – I do not know if they found any comfort in it. It is sentimental but aligns with my personal belief systems in that we go on after leaving these mortal bodies.

Liked by 1 person

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