Saturday, June 11, 2016

No Great Talent

freeimage.com/Helmut Gevert

“I don’t have any talent.” You have certainly heard those words. You may have even said them yourself. And quite possibly, if you looked closely enough, you would discover that you are wrong.

Mary Frye enjoyed writing poetry. She wasn’t interested in publishing her poems, and occasionally she passed one on to a friend who could use a lift. “I don’t figure I have any great talent,” the Baltimore, Maryland homemaker said. But many people would disagree. One of her poems, especially, has given hope and comfort to people in grief for over 50 years.

When a friend of hers lost someone close, Mary Frye jotted down a poem, which seemed to spring from her heart, and gave it to the grieving woman. That poem was later passed on to others, who, in turn, passed it on until it became an American classic. “If it helps one person through a hard time, I am amply paid,” said Mary, who has received no remuneration for her uncopyrighted work. It has been used in countless funerals, translated and used in foreign lands and even incorporated into television drama.

Here is her original text, which has moved so many for so long:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.

I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.

I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room,
I am the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

How many people are finding strength and solace from a verse jotted by a woman who always professed she had no talent? And what if she had kept her poetry to herself? Don’t be afraid to use the talents you do possess. As Henry Van Dyke said first,  “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

-- Steve Goodier


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