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Bereavement poems and poems for funerals

Bereavement poems and poems for funerals

Funeral poems and readings help to capture the spirit of the person lost and express the feelings of the people left behind. After all, finding the right words can be tough, especially in the midst of grief.

Like funeral songs, a well chosen poem can offer comfort or raise a smile and will serve as a wonderful reminder of a loved one long into the future.

If you’re trying to find the perfect words to pay tribute to a special someone, or are looking for inspiration for a poem to be read at your own funeral, here’s a selection of beautiful bereavement poems to help you in your search.

Popular bereavement poems

Among the most famous funeral poems are the extremely poignant ‘Funeral Blues’, best known as the ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ poem and ‘She is gone’ which was chosen as the Queen Mother’s funeral poem back in 2002.

Funeral Blues — W. H. Auden

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…

Read full poem

She is Gone — David Harkins

You can shed tears that she is gone

or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back

or you can open your eyes and see all she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her

or you can be full of the love you shared…

Read full poem

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep — Mary Elizabeth Frye

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 rain…

Read full poem

Short funeral poems

Shorter poems can also be a good option for children who want to participate in the funeral service, or for adults who are too upset or nervous to say more. They also make good wording for funeral flowers and sympathy cards.

If I Should Go — Joyce Grenfell

If I should go before the rest of you

Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone

Nor when I'm 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.

Though I am Dead — Anonymous

Though I am dead grieve not for me with tears

think not of death with sorrowing and tears;

I am so near that every tear you shed

touches and tortures me though you think me dead.

But when you laugh and sing in glad delight,

my soul is lifted upward to the light.

Laugh and be glad for all that life is giving

and I, though dead, will share your joy in living.

Those Who Love — By Anonymous

It’s always those who love the most

Who most miss the one they love,

When comes the parting of the ways,

And clouds loom dark above;

But tears will pass, your skies will clear

Then will you smile again,

And comfort find in memories,

Which now bring bitter pain.

Non-religious funeral poems

With Humanist and alternative funerals on the rise, poems are a great way to express feelings and offer comfort without any religious sentiment.

Death is Nothing at All — Canon Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other

That we are still

Call me by my own familiar name

Speak to me in the easy way you always used…

Read full poem

Remember — Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can go no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day…

Read full poem

Humanist funeral poems

At Every Turning — Rabindranath Tragore

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…

Read full poem

I Am There

Look for me when the tide is high

And the gulls are wheeling overhead

When the autumn wind sweeps the cloudy sky

And one by one the leaves are shed

I am there, where the river flows…

Read full poem

Happy and funny funeral poems

There’s no rule that says a funeral reading must be serious or sad. A funeral can be a celebration of life and a fond farewell. What’s wonderful is that uplifting funeral poems are frequently chosen by the deceased during their lifetime, to comfort those left behind.

Farewell My Friends — Rabindranath Tagore

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…

Read full poem

Afterglow — Unknown

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 when life is done.

The Last Will and Testament of Jack Thackray — Jack Thackray

I, the under-mentioned, by this document

Do declare my true intentions, my last will, my testament.

When I turn up my toes, when I rattle my clack, when I agonise,

I want no great wet weepings, no tearing of hair, no wringing of hands,

No sighs, no lack-a-days, no woe-is-me's and none of your sad adieus.

Go, go, go and get the priest and then go get the booze, boys.

Read full poem

Paying tribute to parents

Losing a parent is hard at any age and for some it can be overwhelming to recount personal stories at the funeral. A poem is an alternative way to share your memories and convey how the person influenced you.

Funeral poems for mum

A Mother’s Love — Helen Steiner Rice

A Mother’s love is something

that no one can explain,

It is made of deep devotion

and of sacrifice and pain,

It is endless and unselfish

and enduring come what may …

Read full poem

We Remember Her — Adapted from the Yizkor Service

When we are weary and in need of strength,

When we are lost and sick at heart,

We remember her.

When we have a joy we crave to share

When we have decisions that are difficult to make

When we have achievements that are based on her’s

We remember her

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter

At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,

We remember her.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer

At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,

We remember her.

At the rising of the sun and at its setting,

We remember her.

As long as we live, she too will live

For she is now a part of us,

As we remember her.

Funeral poems for dad

Not How Did He Die, But How Did He Live? — Unknown

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 man, regardless of birth…

Read full poem

His Charming Ways — Unknown

His charming ways and smiling face;

Are a pleasure to recall;

He had a kindly word for each;

And died beloved by all…

Read full poem

We hope this selection of funeral poems has helped inspire you. When faced with bereavement and speaking at a funeral, explaining how much the person was loved and the sadness felt over the loss can be hard. A poem or short verse can help express these emotions and takes the pressure off finding your own words yourself.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd. Golden Charter Ltd are not required to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to funeral plans but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

If you choose to pay for your funeral with a life insurance policy, the policy will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

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SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.