Do not stand by my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not rest.
I am the momentary rustle in the rafters.
I am the imaginary knock on your door.
Murd’rer, I am the “toam-ing” dread
dripping piecemeal in the bath.
I am the awesome pounding force
of your heart clobbering your eardrums.
When you break a new dawn’s calm
glistening and emitting a startling scream
I am the bloodied hatchet unmanned
that gave you nightmare chase.
I am the flashing silver forerunner
of Sango’s crashing wrath.
I am the owl’s call to the thickening gloom
of distant doom beckoned come.
I am the sapient form – taking shape;
dispersing – in Brownian wisps of smoke.
When you stride along on lonely streets
darkened by the sun lately gone to roost
I am that-which-might-not-be and is not there
Foreboding intermittently hints you might be.
Do not stand by my grave and cry
I roam the earth. I long to leave.
In Yoruba culture, there is a certain ritual that would be performed on a dead person whose death was suspected to have been as a result of foul play. This ritual would ensure that the dead person’s spirit would not go into the afterlife until it has avenged his/her death. The poem is based on Mary Elizabeth Frye’s 1932 poem ” Do not stand at my grave and weep”.