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.
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…
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…
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…
Humanist funeral poems
At Every Turning — Rabindranath Tragore
At every turning of my life
I came across
Friends who stood by me
Even when the time raced me by.
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…
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…
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.
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 …
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…
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…
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.