Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
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.
-Mary Elizabeth Frye
In Memory Of Ken The Farmer
I first wrote the poem below and published this post in March of last year when we were informed that the ‘the farmer’ was hanging up his irrigation boots and selling the farm. ‘The farmer’ was Ken, my husband’s dad. This was a huge emotional loss for everybody, the farm was his baby. Many family members have fond childhood memories of being put to work on the farm, pruning, irrigating, baling hay. The first time I met him, he even put me on the tractor. I did wonder if this was some type of test to see if I was good enough for his son. If so, I must have passed because we have been happily married since then and I have felt nothing but warmth and love from the farmer.
I thought it would be appropriate to re-publish this poem as a memorial since the farmer is at rest now, no more chemotherapy, no more doctors visits, no more procedures. The cancer that robbed him of strength in his final years can’t steal from him anymore.
Ken not only nourished bodies with the fruit he harvested but nourished our souls as well. He loved to teach anyone who wanted to listen. If you had mysterious spots on your ornamental pear tree, he would make a house call and dole out his diagnosis while teaching you how to prune and take care of the tree too. Any teenager that spent time there received pearls of wisdom that would serve them well in the future. What teenage girl can forget the lesson ‘How to tell if the boy is right for you’? “Well, you have to see how he treats his mother”, that’s what Ken would say. Or how about his son, barely big enough to engage the clutch of the tractor, plopped in the seat while his dad ran beside him shouting a set of instructions? The new adults, before heading off to military basic training, received a land navigation course from the farmer up in the mountains.
Anybody who met Ken knew of his love for ‘The Timp’, the spectacular mountain right outside his farm with an Indian folklore attached to it that would rival any love story Jane Austen ever imagined. His love for her manifested itself with countless treks up and down her trails and even led to a hand-carved sculpture out of wood. An homage to both the mountain and her starry eyed suitor.
We all suffer loss and pain when losing someone, a testament to our love for them while they were here. The bigger the void they leave behind, the more they lived while here on Earth. We will always carry our loved ones in our memories and our behavior, because a life well lived, is a life that has changed others.
I wanted to share with you some insight into our love for a wonderful man and possibly the farmer that supplied some produce for your next meal. Whether we eat organic or not, vegetarian or not, just know that behind every quart of milk, apple or steak is a farmer who loves what they do and has a story to tell.
Ode To A Farm
O lovely land, plowed to loam
Hear our cries, whose tears stir fields’ dust
I leave you not for I am now home
Take hold, we seed, take care you must
Soil, so strong, for here grows the sapling
Row upon row on this fertile land
Every new day, Thou restoreth hope
The winds converge and test our struggling
You planted us well for You are grand
Our roots bind strong so we may cope
O good seed, life begins anew, in this land so arable
With guiding hands your grain becomes plenteous
Weeds are sown, worry not, remember the parable
The harvesters will come, weeds will burn, He is generous
Fields aglow, dancing in the wind, shining proliferant
Bounty is good, yields will prosper next year hence
Brother rise, you’ve grown strong, embrace your given task
Your day is coming, your bestowed gifts will surely enchant
Through toil and sweat, your fruits harvested thence
Be blissful, oh lovely one, your joy will be unmasked
Autumn grows near, summoning the decline
Hints of cold draw on seasons’ breath
The end is certain, do you see the sign?
Winds blowing cold, whispering living death
honorable was your season, take heart, you served well
Duty, honor, all robust
Weary you grow, colors are fading, falling
The field lays quiet in her dormant cell
Be still, breathe easy, in Him you will trust
Sleep deep my dear, the Farmer, soon, will be calling