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Come to the Forest to Visit Me: a poem about green burial

Updated on February 22, 2016
Westonbirt Arboretum - Avenue of trees. Author: Stuz, 2004.
Westonbirt Arboretum - Avenue of trees. Author: Stuz, 2004. | Source

"Come to the Forest to Visit Me" by Lurana Brown

Come to the forest to visit me

Down by the roots of a tree

Waste not your tears on cold stone graves

Water a flower for me


Give me to the earth when my winter comes

Bury me deep in the ground

Mark not my place with statues or caves

Find me where life can be found


Come to the woods when autumn leaves turn

Golden and copper and red

Rustle up memories, seeds of joy stored

Kick up the leaves in my stead


Visit a garden on warm, summer days

Keep company with blossoms and bees

Remember my heart blooms forever in yours

Take comfort from shushing shade trees


Let springtime surround you with life and the living

Birdsong and budding green leaves

Look up at the sky, give thanks for sun and rain

When you think of me, smile more than grieve


Come to the forest to visit me

Down by the roots of a tree

Live every day that is given to you

Water a new flower for me


Green Burial

In times of grief, community customs can be significant sources of comfort. Cultures have varied widely in memorial practices, with burial locations including cemeteries, memorial parks, tombs, and mausoleums as well as natural interment at sea or underground. “Natural burial” is any that allows for organic decomposition. “Green burial” is natural burial that takes environmental conservation into consideration; it creates a memorial landscape that supports local wildlife habitats and ecological sustainability.

Discussing death care options can be challenging. Facing the reality of mortality engages us on psychological, emotional, and spiritual levels. Pragmatic decisions must be made during times of stress and grief. Families often have expectations of continuing previous generations' traditions, and financial and geographic concerns may weigh heavily. Memorial choices are very personal and must be approached with respect for the relationships of all parties involved. Educational literature from various options can prove helpful, and families can benefit from the presence of a neutral mediator to assist with reaching consensus.

The growing trend of green burial allows for surviving loved ones to visit a memorial grounds that honors ecological concerns as well as cultural values. All materials used are bio-degradable and non-toxic. There are a range of choices and a growing number of green funeral service providers available. For more information and resources, visit the Green Burial Council site.

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    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 13 months ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Thank you very much, Laurinzo! The green burial movement is fascinating to me...and to think that now it's revolutionary to do what humans did naturally up until very recently. Thanks again and take care. :-)

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image

      Live To Write 13 months ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Absolutely amazing!!!!!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Hi Lurana. I wanted to do a poem for you. I was attracted here and realized that we've had a few conversations, so to speak. Here is your poem: https://hubpages.com/literature/The-Descent-of-a-H...

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 2 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Hello Manatita, I found your "'When I Am Gone" poem and it is lovely, just as you described it. :-) Thank you again for connecting and much love to you too. ~Lurana

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Lurana, I will check those links.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 2 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Jodah---Thank you very much! I did a quick search about green burial in Australia. This blog post mentions some Australian facts down the page: http://www.awillforthewoods.com/OLD%20SITE/learn_m... but I can't find any current website for the National Earth Burial Society. This book looks like it would be helpful (I have no connection to the author): http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780670071081/f... It's a growing movement. Thanks again for commenting and take care. :-) Lurana

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Yes, Lurana (What a great name!)

      Pam Ayres "Woodland Burial" is supreme! Thank you for including it. You may like my own 'When I am Gone, Remember me.' It is softer, light, soothing, ethereal. or "Do not Look for me in the Casket"

      Much love to you, O Poetess.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What a beautiful poem MrsBrownsParlour, and also helpful information on green funerals. I am very interested in this for when eventually leave this world. I'll have to investigate the availability in Australia. I do know you can purchase recyclable cardboard coffins but they are still surprisingly expensive. Voted up.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Hello Manatita44 and thank you! I appreciate your comments very much. I am familiar with the poem you mention and find it deeply moving. I have also recently come across another one with a similar theme, "Woodland Burial" by Pam Ayres. Thank you again for taking the time to read this and comment. Peace to you too, Lurana

      "Woodland Burial" by Pam Ayres

      Don’t lay me in some gloomy churchyard shaded by a wall

      Where the dust of ancient bones has spread a dryness over all,

      Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold

      Little seeds investigate and tender leaves unfold.

      There kindly and affectionately, plant a native tree

      To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of me.

      The roots will not disturb me as they wend their peaceful way

      To build the fine and bountiful, from closure and decay.

      To seek their small requirements so that when their work is done

      I’ll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the sun.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      An astonishingly beautiful poem. There is another stunning one with a similar theme called Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Elizabeth Fry, I believe. While hers is powerful and deep, your is full of vibrancy and joy. Much Peace.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Audrey---Thank you! I appreciate your visit as always. :-) I hope all is well with you. ~Lurana

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Such a beautiful piece of writing!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      mylindaelliott---Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful comment! I think it is as gentle a transition as possible.

      ~Lurana

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

      I hadn't heard about green burial. This sounds like a lovely way to give back at the end of life.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      thost---Thank you for reading and for your lovely comment. I appreciate it very much! :-) Lurana

    • thost profile image

      thost 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Beauty in life and it's passing. Will vote up.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Audrey---Thank you so much! I appreciate your visit. :-) Lurana

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      This is so beautiful! And compelling---

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Shannon---Thank you! I really appreciate hearing your thoughts. It is a little different for me. :-)

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 4 years ago

      "Find me where life can be found" is the line that really stood out to me in that poem.

      This hub is a bit different than most of yours I've read, but I enjoyed both the poem and reading about the information that followed. You handled the topic well.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      brownella---Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I love your idea about planting trees to reflect the character of the person, and seeing them grow...really beautiful. ~Lurana

    • brownella profile image

      brownella 4 years ago from New England

      Lovely poem, a mixture of Auden and Whitman. I always liked the idea of planting a tree over a grave, a type of tree like the type of person so that every time you come back to see it you know that more of them is there. Thanks for sharing :)

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      dreamseeker---Thank you!! I am happy you liked it; thanks so much for the kind comment. :-) Lurana

    • profile image

      dreamseeker2 4 years ago

      Awesome poem!! I like the first verse best. It is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing this with us, talented lady. : ) Voted it up and accordingly!!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Michelle---Thank you! I am deeply concerned for our natural world too. Many elements of our modern civilization are just not sustainable.

      Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it! :-) Lurana

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      A wonderful poem, Lurana. Sadly, the environment is slowly dying....so we have to do whatever we can to preserve its beauty. Thanks for sharing, am passing this on!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Theresa---Thank you for sharing about your father; I am sorry for your loss. That simple memorial sounds humble and beautiful. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Peace, Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Jo---Thank you! I was hoping to share some valuable information with the poem. :-) Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Suzette---Thank you! I am thinking of my children with that line, "my heart blooms forever in yours". I appreciate your detailed response so much. ~Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Eric---I'm so pleased to hear that you came back to this...thank you for sharing that peaceful feeling; it sounds like what I feel when I think along these lines. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! ~Lurana

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Lurana- Thanks for responding in detail and providing the links, mush food for thought. My father died about three years ago and he opted for cremation and wanted things very simple, not even an urn. This may horrify or offend some people, but his ashes were given to us in s simple biodegradable cardboard box and everything became part of the place of remembrance we had selected. Thanks again. Theresa

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      This is practical and useful, the poem says it with such eloquence!.. beautifully done.

      This is one to keep and share.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Your poem is absolutely beautiful, Lurana. "Remember my heart blooms forever in yours." My favorite line in your poem. Also bury my down near the roots of the tree. This the meter and rhyme of this poem is perfect for your subject. So flowing and peaceful like death. This also carries a great message. I agree with the idea of a 'green burial.' Bravo!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I read this once again in our wee hours out west here, and felt an peaceful easy feeling that if we choose we are part of the cycle -- in a good way, alive or dead. And after all what is it that dies.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Colin---This morning I saw that the Chicago Blackhawks won the cup opener last night...and I'm from Chicago...so now I see why you mentioned it. See, I can't even make small talk about local teams and huge events! :-P

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Colin---Thank you dearly, I am touched! And how beautiful that your parents are part of the land and lake you love.

      I do not pay attention to sports at all! I hardly know which teams go with which games, it's that bad. I do seem to recall that Blackhawks are hockey though, and I know hockey is huge in Canada....so I wish you well if that's your team! :-D

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Eddy---Thank you! I know you and I both are so inspired by gardens and flowers and beautiful landscapes. Thanks for the vote of confidence. :-) Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Reba---It's so good to hear from you! Thank you for your thoughts, they mean so much. :-) I think that a lot of the non-green rituals are efforts to keep our loved ones from returning to the earth...keeping them in boxes and caves and trying to control the loss. Grief is so very difficult. Surrendering to the natural cycle is such a gift though, to the earth and to ourselves...letting go of the body completely and knowing that it is now going to be a part of other living things...

      Wishing you many blessings too! :-) Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Kim---Thank you!! I saw an article a while ago about a tree memorial park and it stayed with me. Thank you for your very kind comment. :-) Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Frank---Thank you...I appreciate your thoughtful response. I was imagining what I'd say to my own children or how I'd feel visiting my loved ones. ~Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Valleypoet---Thank you for commenting! I'm glad I am able to help spread useful information. I appreciate your support very much, as always. :-) Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Joelle---Thank you! It is humbling and beautiful to think that our bodies break down and become part of new living things...very much a cycle of life. Thank you for the lovely comment! :-) Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Cat---Thank you so much!! I thought the information at the end would be a helpful follow-up. Have a great day :-) Lurana

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      Oh my oh my - dear Lurana - this is possibly my most favorite piece of writing by you - so lovely and eloquent from your golden pen of poetry.

      And it reminds me of my own mum and dad whose ashes are buried in the front yard here overlooking the lake for eternity.

      Are you rooting for the Black Hawks in the cup final?

      sending you 3 big Canadian hugs from Colin, Tiffy and Gabriel at lake erie time canada 4:40pm

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      CarolynEmerick---Hello and thank you! I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I agree that this is a subject that more people need to talk about. There are many good resources available! ~Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
      Author

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Eric---Your poem in your comment is beautiful; I'm honored, thank you! ~Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Nellieanna---Thanks so much for reading and commenting, my friend! I thought this was a special topic. :-) Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Theresa---Thank you for your positive feedback and support, I am grateful!

      I found a resource about eco-friendly cremation: http://www.agreenerfuneral.org/greener-funerals/ea...

      I actually just added its home site to my article because it answers many questions like yours. My understanding is that cremation in general is a greener option than cemetery burial. It can be made even more so by reducing the amount of chemicals used in the process (that link from agreenerfuneral.org explains more). There are also many biodegradable urns on the market for people who wish to go that route.

      I also came across an interesting idea at www.eternalreefs.com where remains are mixed with concrete to create a marine reef habitat....this would lack the "zero-impact" quality of purist green options, but it's a unique memorial concept.

      Thanks again! ~Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Bill---It is a newer phenomenon that I find both ecologically urgent and beautiful. Thank you for reading and for the nice comment! :-) Lurana

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful share ;Lurana; loved it vote up and shared.

      Eddy.

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 4 years ago

      I have looked into green burials, and I think it makes such good sense. Your poem rings lyrical and true, dear Lurana. What a beautiful spirit you are, and what amazing poetry you write!

      I hope that this wondrous work inspires us all to follow a green life__and when we are on the path of our physical demise. Thank you so much for sharing.

      Blessings and hugs to you, sweet friend,

      Reba

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Lurana,

      You continue to amaze me with your many talents and extensive knowledge. I love the poem. A big vote up!

      Best Always,

      Kim

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      what a soft wonderful way to covey a message.. come water a flower for me ... wonderfully written

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      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      I'd never heard of a green burial before..your lovely.poem was a great way to introduce the concept...thanks for sharing:-)

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Very beautiful poem, Lurana! I find that your poem symbolize the cycle of life. When we are gone, we can indeed still live through the trees or flowers.

      Green burial is a good idea as it impact less the environement!

      Voted up, beautiful and interesting!

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Lurana,

      This is beautiful and I didn't realize there was to be more. Your poetry could certainly sell the idea. What an interesting concept; this will leave something for me to think about... and definitely something to talk about.

      Up + more and sharing

      Cat

    • CarolynEmerick profile image

      Carolyn Emerick 4 years ago

      Beautiful poem and I'm glad to see people starting to talk about this more often. It's an important issue. :-)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      For the "I" in Eric will be elsewhere so let it be that a garden follow what was me. Let me be food for growth among the flowers, so I give some thanks back for all the hours

      that the earth has given freely to me

      if I can be nourishment, let it be.

      Beautiful loving hub, let many follow.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Very deep, special and informative , Lurana. Thank you!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Lurana - A lovely and deeply meaningful poem. And a wonderful introduction to the concept of a "Green Burial." Would a creamation, where the family spreads the ashes at sea or in a park, garden or family property (my intention) be considered a "Green Burial?" Thannk you for your beautiful poem and for educating us about this important concenpt. SHARING. Theresa

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Somehow I have never heard of a green burial. What a lovely way of introducing this new custom, one I totally endorse. Very good work, Lurana.