The lyrics come from a poem attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye. I find the choral arrangement breathtaking. It's hard to describe what it's like to play a piece like this for a choir - especially when I feel such a connection with the music and the lyrics. It's not particularly a religious poem, but the last line certainly is profound for a Believer: I am not there, I did not die.
About five years ago, the high school choir I accompanied sang this at their spring concert. Three days before graduation, a senior was in a car accident and died. His parents requested that the choir sing the song at his memorial service. I'm not sure how those kids were able to sing it knowing the last time it was sung, their friend was among them singing it. But what beautiful lyrics to comfort them.
- 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 sun 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 circling flight.
- I am the soft starlight at night.
- Do not stand at my grave and cry,
- I am not there; I did not die.