Wednesday, March 8, 2017

An Inspiring Poem and Its History

1932 Mary Elizabeth Frye [American housewife, florist; 1905-2004]

Abigail Van Buren [Dear Abby] researched the poem’s history and concluded in 1998 that Mary Elizabeth Frye, who was living in Baltimore at the time, wrote the poem in 1932.

According to Van Buren’s research, Frye had never written any poetry, but the plight of a German Jewish woman, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who was staying with Mary and her husband, inspired the poem.

Margaret Schwarzkopf was concerned about her mother, who was ill in Germany, but she had been warned not to return home because of increasing unrest. When her mother died, the heartbroken young woman told Frye that she never had the chance to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear”.

Frye, according to Van Buren’s research, found herself composing a piece of verse on a brown paper shopping bag. Later she said that the words “just came to her” and expressed what she felt about life and death. - thanks, internet


Catherine said...

This poem was read at a good friend of mines funeral (as she requested it be done). It was the first time I had ever heard it. It seems everyone who was there had not hear it either. Not a dry eye to be found after that reading.

Content in a Cottage said...

Catherine -- I have heard it before and always loved it. I was very happy to learn the history of this poignant poem. Your friend must have been very special.
Another favorite of mine is:
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
― Thomas Campbell (1777-1844)
xo, Rosemary

Susan said...

Rosemary, I have never heard this poem before but thank you so much for bringing it to us. It is so beautiful.

Content in a Cottage said...

Susan -- I am glad to hear you like it. Maybe one day you can use it to give comfort to someone.
xo, Rosemary

The Queen Vee said...

Lovely and wonderful to know the background story. I wonder if the writer ever wrote any other poetry. I too love the Thomas Campbell quote.