June's Poems - "The World According to June"
- Published on Friday, 25 December 2009 23:35
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
June collected poems, verses, prayers and special writings that were displayed strategically all about 6025 Gardena Lane. They all remain in place, very much as they were on the sad day - 16 March 2005, when June left our home forever.
This collection of poems, verses, prayers and special writings, that are a baker's dozen (13) in number, are reproduced below. I think this collection will give one a glimpse into the character and the personality of this special lady. There is a saying - "Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are!". This collection of June's poems and verses are also June's friends in a literary sense and clearly define who June is. Three of the verses relate to "Friends" and serve to highlight the importance of friends in June's life...
We have a small room for relaxing that might be called a family room but that we call the "TV Room", perhaps because of the prominent placement of a large old console type TV set in the middle of the room. The room has a couch and an easy chair. On the couch are two small pillows with embroidered sayings. The sayings reflect June's love of home and friends. - "Home is the Heart's Nesting Place." - "Welcome Friends." With this introduction, I welcome you to enjoy June's special collection of poems, verses and prayers, may they touch your heart as they have touched mine!
"I Did Not Die!"
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's 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 star that shines at night.
(I am 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 did not die!
(Mary Elizabeth Frye - 1932)
Although I understand the admonitions and the advice of this beautiful poem, I still find myself overcome by grief and weeping when I stand at June’s grave during my weekly visits. I am sure that some would criticize my conduct. My response would be that Jesus wept when advised of the death of his good friend Lazarus. Why should I be held to a different standard of conduct? (John 11: 35: “Jesus Wept.” (KJV)
Note: This poem was found among some of June's remembrances of her mother Haldis C. (Varnes-Rolstad) Nedland. I thought it was beautiful and touching. Some of June's finest qualities came from her mother Haldis. Haldis passed away on 28 August of 1988 at Chetek, Wi.. I named the poem "I Did Not Die" as June's version had no name. There are a number of versions of this beautiful poem in existence. Most have the name "Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep". The Poem has achieved world wide popularity.
The original author is thought to be Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932 - Frye of Baltimore, MD, is said to have written the poem for her closest friend following the death of the friends mother in Germany. The friend was said to be a Margaret Schwarzkopf, a German Jewish lady who was not able to be with her mother at the time of her mother's death and burial. In her grief, Ms. Schwarzkopf lamented how she had been "denied the chance to stand at her mother's grave and say goodbye!" The Poem was Frye's attempt to console the friend in her grief.
There is also a Native American version which appeared in the late 1990's. It was named "Native American Prayer." In December 2006, it was translated by Man Arai into a Japanese song called "A Thousand Winds". - There are other versions and other claimed authors but the Frye authorship appears to be the earliest and most likely the correct author for the original version of this most beautiful poem..
I have added four lines to June's Poem. They are the enclosed lines with asterisks. These lines were said to have been in the original poem by Frye. (Mary Frye interview - 2000) June's version of the Poem as I found it, had 12 lines to which I added the 4 enclosed-asterisk - lines for a total of 16 lines. -
Photo Notes: The top photo is by Jim Gehrz taken during my visit to June's Grave with fresh roses for Memorial Day 2010. - The bottom photo was taken by granddaughter Gretchen after I delivered fresh yellow Roses to June's Grave during the summer of 2011 - Stan Berg
"Fly Away June"
(Escaping the Darkness of Alzheimer's)
Fly, fly, little wing, fly beyond imagining.
The softest cloud, the whitest dove.
Upon the winds of heaven’s love.
Past the planets and the stars.
Leave this lonely world of ours.
Escape the sorrow and the pain -
Fly again June, fly, fly, do not fear.
Although I will shed a tear...
Your heart is pure, your soul is free.
Be on your way, don’t wait for me.
Above the universe you’ll climb.
Fly on beyond the hands of time.
The moon will rise, and the sun will set.
But June, of you I will never forget...
Until that someday that we meet once more…
Will you be there June to open heaven’s door?
As revised by Stan Berg… (2009)
Stan’s Notes: (2009-2013):The original little poem, (Fly Away) author unknown, was found among June's various papers relating to her mother’s death in 1988. The idea of flying away from this cruel world inspired my revisions and rewritings to tell the story of June the Alzheimer’s victim…I tried to retain the original poems basic format and beauty…but to make a connection to the journey into the darkness of Alzheimer's. I have made some changes and additions, revisions…added a sub-title…I added the ending that I envision for June and I.
There are a number of poems by the same name by other authors but the words and contents are entirely different. (Allison C. Coxsey, Pansy Steele, Mariah Carey and Kathy Gatlin are such examples…Celine Dion has used several similar lines in a song and records dating 2011-2012…obviously from June’s dating her original copy at her mother’s death in 1988, it would seem that Celine and her staff were not the originators…)
My basic idea for revising this poem is grounded in the thought that we leave our aged and diseased body here on earth while our soul is ushered into heaven by one of God’s Angels…I used the concept of a small baby representing our soul being carried to heaven where God will place our soul into a new and young body without disease, pain or earthly imperfections.
Revelations 21: 4 says: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
I was able to secure an illustration of an angel carrying a baby representing our soul. Many persons have the idea that when we die we become Angels…this is clearly not true…Angels are God’s staff and serve him as messengers, warriors and as guides that usher us into heaven…
Trudy Harris, RN was a Hospice Nurse who tells (Glimpses of Heaven - 2008) of how some of her patients described angelic figures that appeared to be waiting for the patient’s passing to usher them into heaven…they could only be seen by the hospice patient…the descriptions by the different patients were all strikingly similar…”When they spoke of angels, which many did, the angels were always described as more beautiful than they had ever imagined, eight feet all…and wearing a white…“Luminescent” is what each one said, like nothing they had ever seen before…they spoke of music…”beautiful choirs”…”far more exquisite than any symphony they had ever heard”…”colors too beautiful to describe”…At first she thought that perhaps these things were the result of the patients being medicated or dehydrated but then saw others saying the same thing when they were not either medicated or dehydrated…at that point she said “I started to really listen.”
"Love Me Now"
If you are ever going to love me,
Love me now, while I can know.
The sweet and tender feelings,
Which from true affection flow.
Love me now,
While I am living.
Do not wait until I'm gone.
Then to have it chiseled in marble,
Sweet words on ice-cold stone.
If you have tender thoughts of me,
Please tell me now.
If you wait until I'm sleeping,
Never to awaken,
There will be death between us,
And I' won't hear you then.
So, if you love me,
Even a little bit,
Let me know it while I am living,
So I can treasure it.
Note: (Love Me Now) This is one of the poems that June collected and framed in a 5x7 frame for the living room - it is on the center end table under the large windows.
Some People come into our lives
and quickly go...
Some People stay awhile and -
Leave Footprints on our heart -
We are never the same.
(1983 - Yours, Mine & Ours)
Note: (Footprints) This little framed poem has been a part of our living room for many years, where it has decorated the top of a small end table next to our living room couch. It was probably acquired by June in the early or mid 1980's. I have read it many times and always reflected on how June has left footprints on my heart and I have never been the same!
This little poem (Footprints) also appears at the end of the last chapter (31) in the book about June that is titled: "Reminiscences of a Traveling Grandmother". I thought that it was an appropriate description of June!
Love Bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends.
(1 Corinthians 13)
Note: (Love) This Bible verse defining true love, is on the cover of one of June's small photo albums (Photo Memories) on the living room coffee table...it is also is on a magnet on the refrigerator door in the kitchen. The illustration used above is a photo scan of the cover of June's "Photo Memories" album.
May the Peace of
our heavenly Father...
be with you always
and bring you comfort.
Note: (Peace) This is a small framed verse that resides on the top of an end table in the small family room that we call the "TV Room."
" Birthday Prayer"
I said a Birthday Prayer for you -
And I asked the Lord above
To keep you safely in his care
And enfold you in his love -
I did not ask for fortune,
For riches or for fame,
I only asked for blessings
In the Saviour's Holy name -
Blessings to surround you
In times of trial and stress,
And inner joy
To fill your heart
With Peace and Happiness.
(Helen Steiner Rice - 1983)
Note: (Birthday Prayer) This prayer was one the June had fastened (laminated card) to the window divider above the kitchen sink overlooking our front yard and front walkway steps...
Every true friend
is a glimpse
Note: (True Friend) This little verse or saying is mounted on a crocheted and framed 5x7 plaque that hangs in the kitchen over our wall phone.
True Friends are never forgotten.
They live within your heart.
Note: (True Friends) This little verse, also about a true friend or friends, is mounted on a little wooden plaque 4.5x5.5", framed in painted flowers and is prominently displayed in a small family room that we call the "TV Room."
Don't Walk before me -
I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me -
I may not lead.
Just walk beside me -
And be my friend...
Note: (Friend) This little verse or saying was framed by June and is hanging in our guest bedroom. While it is applicable to all who may be a friend, I had always viewed it as a message for husbands and wives. June was my best friend!
When I married
I didn’t know
His first name
Note: (Mr. Right) This comical little verse was June’s way of telling me something in a very light hearted way. It is mounted in a little walnut framed plaque approx. 6”x8”. It is mounted on one of our kitchen walls. When I first saw it, my reaction was a hurt feeling. However when I thought about it I had to laugh. Now I smile every time I see it. June was right about the message. I was a person who tended to always think I was right. While I recognized that I could not always be right, however, at the time I always thought that I was. June and I never had arguments. June would frequently say to me: “Stan, we get along good don’t we!” I remember June telling our Redeemer Church pastor at our 50th anniversary, that we never argued. Politically we were aligned the same and considered ourselves conservative. The fact that we had both been raised on a farm during the “Great Depression” days by families that were poor, many of our early life experiences and environmental impacts were similar. I recognize that our unusual record of no arguments was more June’s doing then mine. While we did not have arguments, June observed my interaction with friends and relatives and others on political and social matters and probably thought this was a good way of bringing it to my attention without offending me.
Bible Verse - "John 3:16."
For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have ever-lasting life.
(King James Version)
Note: (John 3:16) This bible verse is in the form of a wall plaque (6x8) with fancy old engraved English style lettering. This plaque hangs in the downstairs bathroom that is adjacent to my office. This little plaque has special meaning to me and represents how June made a change in my life by very subtle means. This plaque and Bible verse has a special story behind it...
June changed my life and brought me into regular church attendance without ever nagging or pressuring me. I was a person who only went to church on the special holidays. I was just too busy or had other frivolous excuses. June set a good example for me by going every Sunday alone and by always praying for me. Although I did not realize it at the time, she was using very subtle and effective psychology on me. June knew that I spent much of my time in my downstairs office. She knew that I frequently used the little bathroom next to the office. June arranged to place the above mounted and attractive plaque with the quotation from John3:16 on the bathroom wall. It was so located that every time I used the bathroom, I was looking directly at the quotation. I may not have known much about the Bible but I really knew John 3:16. (KJV.:
On a certain and special Sunday after June had left for church and as I was sitting in my office - I thought about June and one of my work slogans - “first things first” - that I was really not doing this in my life. I had a sudden deep feeling of shame in that I had for years let June go to church alone. I arose and went to church that day and have done so regularly ever since. This made June very happy and when she later told others about this change in my life, she would throw up your arms and exclaim: “and suddenly there he was.”
June gave me the most important verse in the Bible. Reverend Falwell in his last sermon before he died said: - “if the Bible were a financial statement, John 3:16 would be the Bottom Line.” He also said that when looking for a synopsis or summary of the bible, John 3:16 is the Bible’s super summary” and if you understand and believe this passage you have got it all.
Photo illustration above is the actual plaque involved in this story!
"The Lord's Prayer"
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power and
the glory, forever.
(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)
Note: (Lord's Prayer) This is a 7"x9" elaborately framed plaque with old style lettering and surrounded by illustrated flowers. There are two identical plaques of this style in our home. One hangs in our main floor bathroom and the other hangs on the south wall of our front entry way. Photo illustration is the actual plaque from the bathroom in June's home at 6025 GardenaLane.
It seems appropriate that the "Lord's Prayer"be the last item in this collection of June's cherished poems, verses and sayings.
The Lord's Prayer is said to be the best know prayer in Christianity. It was estimated that on Easter Sunday, over 2 billion Christians recited or sang the prayer in hundreds of languages.
While another version of the Lord's prayer appears in Luke 11:2-4, this version by Luke lacks the smooth flowing beauty and poetry of the Matthew's version and is clearly not the preferred version.
Poem about June and her Home: A poem that I wrote on July 4th, 2006 about June and her home can be found on this link:
(Photo Notes: Photo below is June and Stan's hands - 31 October 2007 - At the time of this photo, June had already entered the last year of her life. Alzheimer's had carried her into a world where she could no longer be reached. I slowly lost June, tear drop by tear drop...Holding June's hand was our only means of communication. This photo is by Jim Gehrz.)
Terry Shepherd - Warsaw, Indiana - (8 August 2013): "This is incredible. I think it is wonderful that you have this collection"
Marsha McKneely Aulta - Nacogdoches, Texas - (9 August 2013): "Special lady and a beautiful collection of what she loved."
Dianne Cogar - Springfield, Ohio - (9 August 2013): "June had very good taste in her selection of poetry I see. If these works are a reflection of her heart from days gone by, then I believe she wore wings long before they were earned. This tells me she was an earth angel in training to carry on an infinite service in heaven and on earth. Stan, I believe June is with you during your happiest moments, and in your darkest hours-- spreading her wings in emotional delight and gently embracing you with her loving arms to calm your fears and comfort your weary soul when need be."
Elece Hollis - Okmulgee, Oklahoma- (9 August 2013): "Enjoying reading the web pages about June's life. I love the hands photo."
Donald Hiatt - Clovis, California - (9 August 2013): "Thank you so very much for sharing this collection of wonderful poems. Through them I feel as if I can see June's heart. I will be anxious to meet her when we all reach that golden shore...Blessings...Don."
After battling Alzheimer's for almost 12 years, an exhausted June was finally called home by God on October 23rd, 2008. Her funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - Click on:
For the story of June’s favorite home at 6025 Gardena Lane and the poem I wrote about this home during a day of deep sadness, click on the below link: (This was June’s home for almost 40 years. It was constructed shortly after the previous home was severely damaged in a tornado. 6025 Gardena Lane was the first home the June participated in the selection and purchase of a lot on a small hill, helped with the design of the home and watched it being constructed. 6025 Gardena Lane had a special place in her heart.)