Paul Saunders

Wandered around a little gift shop today and came across a small book titled ‘Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep’ a short poem by Mary Frye wrote in 1932. The book illustrations is what interested me in this book, but I will come to that bit in a moment.

The poem goes like this:

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 star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

The inspiration to Mary Frye to write this was a young German Jewish woman named Margaret Schwarzkopf, who was staying with Mary and her husband. Margaret was worried about her ill mother in Germany, but couldn’t return home to see her. Sadly her mother passed away and said to Mary that she never had the chance to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear”.

This inspired Mary Frye to write the poem (on a brown paper shopping bag).

The poem was introduced to Britain by a killed soldiers father reading it out on BBC radio in 1995,  having been left it in an envelope by the soldier addressed ‘To all my loved ones’. <3

What drew me to the book was the illustrations by Paul Saunders. I didn’t buy the book (it was a little expensive) but the illustrations were something to look at. If I could find any examples I would post one or two, but there isn’t any : ( I loved the fine detail gone into each little drawing of the trees, rocks, bushes, countryside. It was something that made me look at and think: “I want to draw like that.”


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