Best Poems for Funeral Programs: 50 Most Beautiful Ideas

If you’ve attended even a small handful of memorial services, you’ve probably noticed that funeral programs often include a beautiful, short funeral poem to commemorate the decedent’s life. 

Many times they are written from first person perspective, as though the one who has passed is speaking directly to the reader, comforting them and reminding them to stay strong in their absence. 

Sometimes they are peaceful or reflective, incorporating themes of nature, religion, music, and love. Other times, the poem included may have been a favorite selection of the decedent’s. 

Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that poetry is not only commonly included in a funeral service, but is highlighted as one of the most beautiful means of honoring a loved one’s memory.

But why is this? What is it about poetry that makes people turn to it in times of sorrow as a means of comfort? To quote William Wordsworth, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion and is recollected in tranquility.” 

Poetry is powerful and emotional, and expresses our feelings in ways that few other methods can, much like music. This is what makes it such a popular choice for a memorial service.

If you would like to include a short poem in the funeral program of your family member or loved one, we have a wonderful selection below to pick from. 

Whether you choose from our selection of popular poems for funeral programs, a passage that stirs up beautiful memories, or one that speaks words of comfort to your broken heart, we’re sure you’ll find just the right poem to honor their legacy.

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15 Best Poems for Funeral Programs

The following funeral poems are our pick of some of the most appropriate, reverent, and time-honored memorial verses. 

Some were specifically written for this purpose, while others bear messages that ring true across a variety of circumstances, including death and loss. 

From among the beautiful, classic lines of greats like Percy Shelley, the Bronte sisters, and Lord Tennyson; or the calm reassurance of anonymous pieces like There Are No Tears, we hope you will find a brief moment of peace (and perhaps even the perfect funeral poem) below.

1. 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.

O, beautiful, and full of grace!

If thou hadst never met mine eye,

I had not dreamed a living face

Could fancied charms so far outvie.

If I may ne’er behold again

That form and face so dear to me,

Nor hear thy voice, still would I fain

Preserve, for aye, their memory.

Anne Bronte

2. Remember Me

Remember me in your heart:

Your thoughts, and your memories,

Of the times we loved,

The times we cried,

The times we fought,

The times we laughed.

For if you always think of me, I will never have gone.

Margaret Mead

3. A Golden Day

I found you and I lost you,

All on a gleaming day.

The day was rilled with sunshine,

And the land was full of May.

A golden bird was singing

Its melody divine,

I found you and I loved you,

And all the world was mine.

I found you and I lost you,

All on a golden day,

But when I dream of you, dear,

It is always brimming May.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

4. Music, When Soft Voices Die

Music, when soft voices die,

Vibrates in the memory—

Odours, when sweet violets sicken,

Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,

Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;

And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,

Love itself shall slumber on.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

5. Petals

Life is a stream

On which we strew

Petal by petal the flower of our heart;

The end lost in dream,

They float past our view,

We only watch their glad, early start.

Freighted with hope,

Crimsoned with joy,

We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;

Their widening scope,

Their distant employ,

We never shall know. And the stream as it flows

Sweeps them away,

Each one is gone

Ever beyond into infinite ways.

We alone stay

While years hurry on,

The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.

Amy Lowell

6. Miss Me But 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 too long

And not with your head bowed low

Remember the love that we once shared

Miss me-but let me go

Christina Rossetti

7. Sympathy

There should be no despair for you

While nightly stars are burning,

While evening pours its silent dew

And sunshine gilds the morning.

There should be no despair – though tears

May flow down like a river:

Are not the best beloved of years

Around your heart forever?

Emily Bronte

8. Crossing Over

Oh, please don’t feel guilty

It was just my time to go.

I see you are still feeling sad,

And the tears just seem to flow.

We all come to earth for our lifetime,

And for some it’s not many years

I don’t want you to keep crying

You are shedding so many tears.

I haven’t really left you

Even though it may seem so.


9. I Hold It True

I hold it true, whate’er befall;

I feel it, when I sorrow most;

‘Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

10. The Real

Things are not always as they seem to be;

The outer surface only man may see.

The summer sleeps beneath the quilt of snow,

Behind the clouds is hid the solar glow,

The babbling brook will burst its icy bands,

And birds will sing, and trees will clap their hands.

The fallen leaf has left a bud behind,

And flowers will bloom of brightest hue and kind;

For when we look beneath the outward crust

With vision clear, and free from worldly lust,

We will behold a brighter world than this,

With less of curse and much of noble bliss;

For God’s kind hand in all our conflicts here

Is clearly seen and doubts must disappear;

The end He has in view is most benign;

The fire will dross consume and gold refine.

Joseph Horatio Chant

11. There Are No Tears

There are no tears in heaven, nor grief of any kind

I leave this final tear drop to those I left behind

Though absent from the body I’m present with the Lord

The joy of my salvation is now my full reward.


Related: Funeral Poems for Dad

12. Part in Peace: Is Day Before Us?

Part in peace: is day before us?

Praise His Name for life and light;

Are the shadows lengthening o’er us?

Bless His care Who guards the night.

Part in peace: with deep thanksgiving,

Rendering, as we homeward tread,

Gracious service to the living,

Tranquil memory to the dead.

Part in peace: such are the praises

God our Maker loveth best;

Such the worship that upraises

Human hearts to heavenly rest.

Sarah Flower Adams

13. Yes, Holy Be Thy Resting Place

Farewell, farewell, ’tis hard to part

Yet, loved one, it must be:

I would not rend another heart

Not even by blessing thee.

Go! We must break affection’s chain,

Forget the hopes of years:

Nay, grieve not – willest thou remain

To waken wilder tears

This herald breeze with thee and me,

Roved in the dawning day:

And thou shouldest be where it shall be

Ere evening, far away.

Emily Bronte

14. Here In This World

Here in this world,

He bids us come;

There in the next,

He shall bid us welcome.

John Donne

15. Immortal Love, Forever Full

O Lord and Master of us all,

Whate’er our name or sign,

We own Thy sway, we hear Thy call,

We test our lives by Thine.

The letter fails, the systems fall,

And every symbol wanes;

The Spirit over brooding all,

Eternal Love remains.

John Greenleaf Whittier

Beautiful Poems for Her Funeral Program

If it was a precious lady that you lost — be it a wife, a mother, a sister, or a friend — and you wish to include a poem that reflects that relationship in some way, one of the pieces below may be just what you’re looking for. 

16. Beyond The Sunset (Should You Go First)

Beyond The Sunset (Should You Go First)

We’ve known so much of happiness we’ve had our cup of joy

And memory is one gift of God that death cannot destroy

I want to know each step you take that I may walk the same

For someday down that lonely road you’ll hear me call your name

Should you go first and I remain one thing I’ll have you do

Walk slowly down that long long path for soon I’ll follow you

In that fair homeland we’ll know no parting

beyond the sunset for evermore.

Albert Rosewell

17. To My Wife — With A Copy Of My Poems

I can write no stately proem

As a prelude to my lay;

From a poet to a poem

I would dare to say.

For if of these fallen petals

One to you seem fair,

Love will waft it till it settles

On your hair.

And when wind and winter harden

All the loveless land,

It will whisper of the garden,

You will understand.

Oscar Wilde

18. Tis Better to Have Loved and Lost

I hold it true, whate’er befall;

I feel it, when I sorrow most;

‘Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

19. When The Long Day Has Faded

When the long day has faded to its end,

The flowers gone, and all the singing done,

And there is no companion left save Death –

Ah! there is one,

Though in her grave she lies this many a year,

Will send a violet made of her blue eyes,

A flowering whisper of her April breath,

Up through the sleeping grass to comfort me,

And in the April rain her tears shall fall.

Richard Le Gallienne

20. Full of Grace

Her mem’ry does remain;

Her suff’ring now is gain:

She lived a life so full of grace

This world cannot contain.


21. To Jennie

Good-bye! a kind good-bye,

I bid you now, my friend,

And though ’tis sad to speak the word,

To destiny I bend

And though it be decreed by Fate

That we ne’er meet again,

Your image, graven on my heart,

Forever shall remain.

Aye, in my heart thou’lt have a place,

Among the friends held dear,-

Nor shall the hand of Time efface

The memories written there.

Mark Twain

Memorial Poems for Funeral Programs — For Him

Likewise, if it was a remarkable man that you have lost, one of the passages below may contain just the right words to resound the peaceful memories of his incredible life.

22. What Is Success?

What Is Success?

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people

And the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics

And endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty,

To find the best in others,

To leave the world a bit better, whether by

A healthy child, a garden patch

Or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier

Because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

23. Loss

In losing you I lost my sun and moon

And all the stars that blessed my lonely night.

I lost the hope of Spring, the joy of June,

The Autumn’s peace, the Winter’s firelight.

I lost the zest of living, the sweet sense

Expectant of your step, your smile, your kiss;

I lost all hope and fear and keen suspense

For this cold calm, sans agony, sans bliss.

I lost the rainbow’s gold, the silver key

That gave me freedom of my town of dreams;

I lost the path that leads to Faërie

By beechen glades and heron-haunted streams.

I lost the master word, dear love, the clue

That threads the maze of life when I lost you.

Winifred M Letts

24. Fleeting Breath

While I draw this fleeting breath,

when mine eyes shall close in death,

when I soar to worlds unknown,

see thee on thy judgment throne,

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

let me hide myself in thee.

Augustus Toplady

25. Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul; when dearest friends depart

and all is darkened in the vale of tears,

then you will better know his love, his heart,

who comes to soothe your sorrows and your fears.

Be still, my soul; your Jesus can repay

from his own fullness all he takes away.

Kathrina Von Schlegel

Heartfelt Poems for Parent’s Funeral Programs

Few things compare to the love of a parent. They hold such a special place in our hearts and lives, that it can be difficult to let go of their hand. 

There is no easy way to navigate the depth of grief that can accompany the death of a beloved parent, but sometimes the beautiful words of wise men and women can soothe the pain, even if just for a little while. 

26. Don’t Cry For Me

Don’t Cry For Me

Don’t cry for me now I have died, for I’m still here I’m by your side,

My body’s gone but my soul is here, please don’t shed another tear,

I am still here I’m all around, only my body lies in the ground.

I am the snowflake that kisses your nose,

I am the frost, that nips your toes.

I am the sun, bringing you light,

I am the star, shining so bright.

I am the rain, refreshing the earth,

I am the laughter, I am the mirth.

I am the bird, up in the sky,

I am the cloud, that’s drifting by.

I am the thoughts, inside your head,

While I’m still there, I can’t be dead.


27. 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 plann’d:

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

28. Immortality

I bowed my head in anguish sore

When Life made Death his bride;

“Soul, we are lost forever more!”

Unto my soul I cried.

“Nay, waste in wailing not thy breath,”

My soul replied to me,

“Behold! The child of Life and Death

Is Immortality!”

Ellis Parker Butler

29. Warm Summer Sun

Warm summer sun,

Shine kindly here,

Warm southern wind,

Blow softly here.

Green sod above,

Lie light, lie light.

Good night, dear heart,

Good night, good night

Mark Twain

30. To My Mother

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,

The angels, whispering to one another,

Can find, among their burning terms of love,

None so devotional as that of “Mother,”

Therefore by that dear name I long have called you-

You who are more than mother unto me,

And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you

In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.

My mother- my own mother, who died early,

Was but the mother of myself; but you

Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,

And thus are dearer than the mother I knew

By that infinity with which my wife

Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.

Edgar Allan Poe

Related: Best Funeral Poems for Mom

Poems for Children’s Funeral Programs

After the loss of a child, it can feel as though your family chain is broken. Children aren’t meant to pass before their parents, and to quote the bereavement poem If Tears Could Build a Stairway listed below, we wish we could “walk right up to heaven” and bring them back again. 

Though we didn’t get as much time with them as we would have hoped, we can still find rest and comfort in their memory and the assurance that they are free from the hardships of this world. 

31. Life is But a Stopping Place

Life is But a Stopping Place

Life is but a stopping place,

A pause in what’s to be,

A resting place along the road,

to sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys,

Different paths along the way,

We all were meant to learn some things,

but never meant to stay…

Our destination is a place,

Far greater than we know.

For some the journey’s quicker,

For some the journey’s slow.

And when the journey finally ends,

We’ll claim a great reward,

And find an everlasting peace,

Together with the lord


32. If Tears Could Build a Stairway

If tears could build a stairway,

and memories a lane.

I would walk right up to Heaven

and bring you back again.


33. Only A Curl

And I feel what it must be and is,

When God draws a new angel so

Through the house of a man up to His,

With a murmur of music, you miss,

And a rapture of light, you forgo.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

34. The Invisible Bride

Softly she comes to me,

And goes to God again.

Edwin Markham

35. My Knowledge

My knowledge of that life is small,

   The eye of faith is dim,

But it’s enough that Christ knows all,

   And I shall be with him.

Richard Baxter

Inspiring Bible Verses for Funeral Programs

Did you know that roughly 33% of the Bible is comprised of poetry? There is no season or event in life for which there is not an appropriate passage of God’s Word, and that includes death and mourning. 

If your loved one knew that one day God would welcome them home, they most likely had no fear of death and looked forward to the end of their life with a heart full of hope.

We who remain behind may grieve, but we can look to the Scriptures for reassurance and peace.

36. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance…

37. Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

38. Psalms 23:6

Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in Yahweh’s house forever.

39. Titus 3:7

…That being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life

40. Matthew 5:4

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they shall be comforted

41. Ecclesiastes 12:7

And the dust returns to the earth as it was,

and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

42. John 14:27

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.

43. Romans 14:7-9

For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself.

For if we live, we live to the Lord. Or if we die, we die to the Lord. If therefore we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

44. John 16:22

Therefore you now have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.

45. Psalm 116:15

Precious in Yahweh’s sight is the death of his saints.

Related: Comforting Bible Verses

Touching Short Poems for Any Funeral Program

These sweet, comforting poems may be short, but they’re no less meaningful. Perfect for beneath your loved one’s photo in the funeral program, or printed on memorial bookmarks.

If you haven’t found a selection from this list that you wish to use, we would encourage you to keep digging.

You can look to classical poets like Robert Louis Stevenson for stunning examples of free verse, to Walt Whitman for pieces filled with themes of nature and wildlife, or read through the works of Emily Dickinson for poems filled with vivid imagery and deep sentiment. 

Poetry is nothing short of a bed of life, teeming with strong emotions and beautiful artistry. It can take even the most simple things in life and turn them into magnificent moments, and can turn memories of everyday events into treasures we cherish for an eternity.

Whether you’ve turned to poetry as content for funeral readings, or simply as a form of comfort after the loss of someone dear, we hope you will find what you’re looking for.

46. Afterglow

Afterglow funeral poem

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.

Helen Lowrie Marshall

47. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

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 glint on snow.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

48. To Those Whom I love & Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go.

I have so many things to see and do,

You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears,

But be thankful we had so many good years.


49. Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all.

It does not count.

I have only slipped away into the next room.

Nothing has happened.

Henry Scott-Holland

50. The Rainy Day

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;

Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

More: 101 Beautiful Funeral Poems

Top 10 Funeral Program Templates

If you have yet to pick a funeral program, or perhaps are unsatisfied with your current selection, we would encourage you to look through the wonderful templates below. 

You want to pick something that adequately reflects your loved one’s life and memory, while also being convenient and affordable. The options below are beautiful examples of timeless design, and are well suited to a variety of memorial services.

Cross & Leaves Funeral Program Template

Perfect for a Christian memorial service or celebration of life, this pretty cross template would be suitable for a man, a woman, or a child’s funeral program. It has a reverent and timeless style and a peaceful color palette.

Portrait Photo Funeral Program Template

We love how classy this particular program is. It will feature a beautiful photograph of your loved one on the front and a formal array of fonts. You can customize many features of these programs with our online editing system, too, to make them just right.

Patriotic Military Funeral Program Template

For a military funeral, this program would be a wonderful choice. Patriotic, bold, and reverent, it features your veteran or serviceman’s photo on the front, with room for the order of service, obituary, and more on the inside.

Evergreen Tree Funeral Program Template

Did your loved one enjoy the serenity of nature and the great outdoors more than just about anything? Then look no further for the perfect program. Timeless, beautiful, and reverent, it features many wonderful, customizable options and a classic appeal.

Greenery Funeral Program Template

Modern yet inspired by nature, this would be a great program for men or women. Its clean design is appealing to those who prefer a minimalistic feel.

Timeless Green Funeral Program Template

Simple elegance is the focus of this particular program. It features your loved one’s picture front and center, and a delicate selection of fonts with plenty of room for customization.

Serenity Funeral Program Template

Soft, delicate, and feminine, this would make a wonderful program choice for a lovely lady. Did she love flowers and elegant, pretty designs? Then this would be the perfect option.

Blue & Gold Branches Funeral Program Template

This design is so timeless and reverent without being boring. The stunning blue is both calming and reminiscent of the vibrant life they lived, while the gold adds a touch of refinement.

Oceanfront Funeral Program Template

Did they love the ocean? Or did their presence offer the peaceful serenity of a walk along the seaside? Then you wouldn’t be amiss in choosing this pretty program for their memorial service.

Vintage Floral Frame Funeral Program Template

This program boasts pretty florals and loads of vintage charm. This sweet and classy option, with its elegant fonts and lovely flower frame, would make an excellent choice.

Read Next: The Complete Guide to Funeral Programs

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