Looking for that special Funeral Poem or Reading?

funeral poems and readingsMany of the funeral poems and readings included here bring comfort and solace to those that read them and may help put into words some of the most difficult and painful emotions and feelings associated with death and bereavement.

Afterglow

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun of happy memories that I leave.
– Author Unknown

The Journey of My Life

It was beautiful as long as it lasted,
the journey of my life.
I have no regrets whatsoever
save the pain I’ll leave behind.
Those dear hearts who love and care …
and the strings pulling at the heart and soul …
The strong arms that held me up
when my own strength let me down.
At every turning of my life I came across good friends,
friends who stood by me
even when time raced by me.
Farewell, farewell my friend.
I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears for I need them not.
All I need is your smile.
If you feel sad do think of me for that’s what I’ll like.
When you live in the hearts of those you love
remember then, you never die.
– Rabindranath Tagore
1861-1941

The Fallen Limb

A limb has fallen from the family tree.
I keep hearing a voice that says,
Grieve not for me.
Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.
The good life I lived while I was strong.
Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you.
Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.
Remembering all, how I truly was blessed.
Continue traditions, no matter how small.
Go on with your life, don’t worry about falls,
I miss you dearly, so keep up your chin.
Until the day comes we’re together again.
-Author Unknown

All Is Well

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near. Just around the corner.
All is well.
– Henry Scott Holland
1847-1918

Farewell My Friends

It was beautiful as long as it lasted, the journey of my life,
I have no regrets whatsoever, save the pain I’ll leave behind.
Those dear hearts who love and care, and the heavy with sleep ever moist eyes,
the smile in spite of a lump in the throat and the strings pulling at the heart and soul,
The strong arms that held me up when my own strength let me down,
each morsel that I was fed with was full of love.
At every turning of my life I came across good friends,
friends who stood by me, even when the time raced me by.
Farewell farewell my friends, I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears, for I need them not, all I need is your smile,
If you feel sad, do think of me, for that’s what I’ll like,
when you live in the hearts of those you love, remember then…you never die.
– Gitanjali Ghei

Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care

Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that he is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you, a word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever locked safely within your heart.
– Author Unknown

Footprints

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.
– Mary Stevenson

God’s Garden

God looked around His garden
And He found an empty place
He then looked down upon the earth
And saw your precious face.
He put His arms around you
And lifted you to rest;
God’ s Garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering
He knew you were in pain
He knew you’ d never ever
Get well on earth again.
So He closed your weary eyelids
And whispered ” Peace be thine ”
Then He took you up to Heaven
With Hands so gentle and kind.
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you did not go alone,
For part of us went with you
The day God welcomed you home.
– Author Unknown

He is Gone

You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
– David Harkins

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
and after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
– Alfred, Lord Tennyson
1809-1892

Do not go gentle into the goodnight

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
– Dylan Thomas
1914-53

Do Not Stand At My Grave

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am 1,000 winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sun on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled light
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there; I did not die.
– Anonymous

Early Death

She passed away like morning dew
Before the sun was high;
So brief her time, she scarcely knew
The meaning of a sigh.
As round the rose its soft perfume,
Sweet love around her floated;
Admired she grew-while mortal doom
Crept on, unfeared, unnoted.
Love was her guardian Angel here,
But Love to Death resigned her;
Though Love was kind, why should we fear
But holy Death is kinder?
– Hartley Coleridge
Writer and poet (1796 – 1849)

Farewell

Farewell to Thee! But not farewell
To all my fondest thoughts of Thee;
Within my heart they still shall dwell
And they shall cheer and comfort me.
Life seems more sweet that Thou didst live
And men more true Thou wert one;
Nothing is lost that Thou didst give,
Nothing destroyed that Thou hast done.
– Anne Bronte
1820-1849

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
– Wystan Hugh Auden

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of; wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air;
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark nor even eagle flew;
And while, with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Flying Officer John Gillespie McGee
– 1922-1941

If I should go tomorrow

If I should go tomorrow
It would never be goodbye,
For I have left my heart with you,
So don’t you ever cry.
The love that’s deep within me,
Shall reach you from the stars,
You’ll feel it from the heavens,
And it will heal the scars.
– Anonymous

Life Goes On

If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower
Nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I am gone
Speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves
That I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is hell
But life goes on
So…. sing as well
– Joyce Grenfell
1910-1979

Let Me Go

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.
When I am dead my dearest
Sing no sad songs for me
Plant thou no roses at my head
Nor shady cypress tree
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet
And if thou wilt remember
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not fear the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on as if in pain;
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.
– Christina Rosetti

Not, How Did He Die, But How Did He Live

Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away?
– Author Unknown

Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land:
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
– Christina Rossetti

1830-1894

Cradled in Love (Baby Poem)

Cradled in love we conceived you,
Cradled in love we felt your presence.
Cradled in love we cherished our dreams,
Then cradled in love we lost you.
Cradled in love we say goodbye.
Cradled in our arms you will never be.
Cradled in our hearts you remain,
Cradled in love.

Baby Poem

Sometimes love is for a moment,
Sometimes love is for a lifetime,
Sometimes a moment is a lifetime.

There is no night without a dawning

There is no night without a dawning
No winter without a spring
And beyond the dark horizon
Our hearts will once more sing ….
For those who leave us for a while
Have only gone away
Out of a restless, care worn world
Into a brighter day.
– Helen Steiner Rice

Today is a Gift

Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart
To handle yourself, use your head;
To handle others, use your heart.
Anger is only one letter short of danger.
If someone betrays you twice, it is your fault
Great minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
He who loses money, loses much;
He who loses a friend, loses much more;
He who loses faith, loses all.
Beautiful old people are works of art.
Learn from the mistakes of others
You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
Friends, you and me … You brought another friend … and we started our group
our circle of friends … and like a circle … there is no beginning or end …
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is mystery.
Today is a gift.
– Laszlo Kotro-Kosztandi

What is Dying

I am standing upon that foreshore,
a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand
and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, “There! she’s gone!”
“Gone where?” “Gone from my sight, that’s all”, she is just as large in mast and spar
and hull as ever she was when she left my side;
just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “There! she’s gone!”
there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,
“Here she comes!”
And that is dying.
– Bishop Brent

In Remembrance

We miss you in so many ways
we miss the things you used to say,
and when old times we do recall
it’s then we miss you most of all.

Responses for a Cremation

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go
Into the dance of the stars and the planets
We let you go
Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star maker
We let you go
We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy
Go safely, go dancing, go running home.
– Ruth Burgess

Responses for a Burial

Into the darkness and warmth of the earth
We lay you down
Into the sadness and smiles of our memories
We lay you down
Into the cycle of living and dying and rising again
We lay you down
May you rest in peace, in fulfilment, in loving
May you run straight home in God’s embrace.
– Ruth Burgess