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101 Funeral Poems

Funeral Poems

Sometimes regular words are not enough. A recitation of the departed loved one’s life and accomplishments is important, but rarely captures the poetic vitality of a beautiful life. Composing your own memorial poetry is a wonderful excercise which helps you work through and express your grief and love, but rare is the person who can craft words to say exactly what they want to say.

This is where funeral poems can be extraordinarily helpful. These can vary, from reasured classics, such as Tennyson’s In Memoriam or Stevenson’s Success, or famous religious texts like Psalm 23 or Newton’s Amazing Grace, or even anonymous lines like the epitaph on an Irish tombstone:

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Words such as these can transcend our own limited expressive abilities to portray a surpassing sense of love, longing, and grief. There are many works which contemplate life and death in a way that richly communicates our common humanity and as such are commonly used as funeral poems.

Here, we have collected 101 of the best, most popular, and most enduring funeral poems in the English language. Some are modern, some are ancient, but each can be helpful in putting words to what is experienced by those who are left behind.

Funeral Poems

101 Funeral Poems

1. A Song of Living

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheeks like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young love on the lips, I have heard his song to the end,
I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.
I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.
I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I gave a share of my soul to the world, when and where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task I surely must leave undone.
I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.
As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God,
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

Amelia Burr
1878-1968

 

2. Abide with Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Henry F. Lyte
1793-1847

 

3. 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 when life is done.

Anonymous

 

4. Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

John Newton
1725-1807

 

5. Away

I cannot say and I will not say
That she is dead, she is just away.
With a cheery smile and a wave of hand
She has wandered into an unknown land;
And left us dreaming how very fair
Its needs must be, since she lingers there.

And you-oh you, who the wildest yearn
From the old-time step and the glad return-
Think of her faring on, as dear
In the love of there, as the love of here
Think of her still the same way, I say;
She is not dead, she is just away.

James Whitcomb Riley
1849-1916

 

6. Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change, He faithful will remain
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake
All now mysterious shall be bright at last
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine

Katherina A. von Schlegel
1697-1768

 

7. But Not Forgotten

I think no matter where you stray,
That I shall go with you a way.
Though you may wander sweeter lands,
You will not forget my hands,
Nor yet the way I held my head
Nor the tremulous things I said.
You will still see me, small and white
And smiling, in the secret night,
And feel my arms about you when
The day comes fluttering back again.
I think, no matter where you be,
You’ll hold me in your memory
And keep my image there without me,
By telling later loves about me.

Dorothy Parker
1893-1967

 

8. By Herself and Her Friends

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.

Joyce Grenfell
1910-1979

 

9. 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 though 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

 

10. The Darker the Night

The darker the night,
The brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief,
The closer is God.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
1821-1881

 

 11. On the Death of Anne Bronte

There’s little joy in life for me,
And little terror in the grave;
I’ve lived the parting hour to see
Of one I would have died to save.

Calmly to watch the failing breath,
Wishing each sigh might be the last;
Longing to see the shade of death
O’er those belovèd features cast.

The cloud, the stillness that must part
The darling of my life from me;
And then to thank God from my heart,
To thank Him well and fervently;

Although I knew that we had lost
The hope and glory of our life;
And now, benighted, tempest-tossed,
Must bear alone the weary strife.

Charlotte Bronte
1816-1855

 

12. Death Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

John Donne
1572-1631

 

13. Death is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped 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 old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in 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 shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.

Henry Scott Holland
1847-1918

 

14. Death Leaves a Heartache

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Anonymous
Epitaph on a headstone in Ireland

 

15. 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 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

 

16. Epitaph on a child

Here, freed from pain, secure from misery, lies
A child, the darling of his parents’ eyes:
A gentler lamb n’er sported on the plain,
A fairer flower will never bloom again:
Few were the days allotted to his breath;
Now let him sleep in peace his night of death.

Thomas Gray
1716-1771

 

17. Epitaph on a Friend

An honest man here lies at rest,
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so inform’d;
If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.

Robert Burns
1759-1796

18. Even such is time

Even such is Time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with earth and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days;
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust.

Sir Walter Raleigh
1554-1618

 

19. 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

 

20. 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 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 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
1961-1977

 

21. Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak;
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finish’d joy and moan;
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee and come to dust.

William Shakespeare
1564-1616
Excerpt from Cymbeline

 

Footprints in the Sand Cremation Urn22. Footprints

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene , he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life, that there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him, and he questioned the Lord about it. ” Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times of my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed you most you would leave me”.

The Lord replied ” My Son, My precious child. I Love You, and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you”.

Anonymous
(possible inspiration here)

 

23. For All the Saints

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

William Walsham How
1823-1897 

 

24. For Katrina’s Sun Dial

Time is too slow for those that wait,
Too swift for those that fear,
Too long for those that grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice,
But for those who love, time is Eternity.

Henry Van Dyke
1852-1933

 

25. 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 forever: 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.

W.H. Auden
1907-1973

 

26. God’s Garden

God looked around his garden
And found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired 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 that you were in pain.
He knew that you would never
Get well on earth again.

He saw the road was getting rough
And the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids
And whispered “Peace be thine.”

It broke our hearts to lose you
But you did not go alone…
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.

Anonymous

 

27. Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”
Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is 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…

Death comes in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.

Henry Van Dyke
1852-1933

 

28. He Is Not Lost Our Dearest Love

He is not lost our dearest love,
Nor has he travelled far,
Just stepped inside home’s loveliest room
And left the door ajar.

Anonymous

 

29. His Journey’s Just Begun

Don’t think of him as gone away
his journey’s just begun,
life holds so many facets
this earth is only one.

Just think of him as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.

Think how he must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.

And think of him as living
in the hearts of those he touched…
for nothing loved is ever lost
and he was loved so much.

Anonymous

 

30. How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, My God, how great thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

Stuart K. Hine
1899-1989

 

31. Hope in God

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so distured within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.

By day Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me –
a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 42: 1-3, 5, 8

 

32. I Heard Your Voice In the Wind Today

I heard your voice in the wind today
and I turned to see your face;
The warmth of the wind caressed me
as I stood silently in place.

I felt your touch in the sun today
as its warmth filled the sky;
I closed my eyes for your embrace
and my spirit soared high.

I saw your eyes in the window pane
as I watched the falling rain;
It seemed as each raindrop fell
it quietly said your name.

I held you close in my heart today
it made me feel complete;
You may have died…but you are not gone
you will always be a part of me.

As long as the sun shines…
the wind blows…
the rain falls…
You will live on inside of me forever
for that is all my heart knows.

Anonymous

 

33. I Fall Asleep in the Full and Certain Hope

I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
That my slumber shall not be broken;
And that though I be all-forgetting,
Yet shall I not be forgotten,
But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds
Of those I loved.

Samuel Butler
1835-1902

 

34. If I Should Die

If I should die,
And you should live,
And time should gurgle on,
And morn should beam,
And noon should burn,
As it has usual done;
If birds should build as early,
And bees as bustling go,–
One might depart at option
From enterprise below!
‘Tis sweet to know that stocks will stand
When we with daisies lie,
That commerce will continue,
And trades as briskly fly.
It make the parting tranquil
And keeps the soul serene,
That gentlemen so sprightly
Conduct the pleasing scene!

Emily Dickinson
1830-1886

 

35. If I Should Die and Leave You Here Awhile

If I should die and leave you here awhile,
Be not like others, sore undone, who keep
Long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
Nerving thy heart and trembling hands to do
Something to comfort weaker hearts than thine.
Complete those dear unfinished tasks of mine
And I perchance may therein comfort you.

Mary Lee Hall
1843-1927

 

36. 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

 

37. If Only

If only we could see the splendour of the land
To which our loved ones are called from you and me
We’d understand
If only we could hear the welcome they receive
From old familiar voices all so dear
We would not grieve
If only we could know the reason why they went
We’d smile and wipe away the tears that flow
And wait content.

Anonymous

 

38. If Roses Grow in Heaven

If roses grow in heaven,
Lord please pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Mother’s arms
and tell her they’re from me.

Tell her I love her and miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile.

Because remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
but there’s an ache within my heart
that will never go away.

Anonymous

 

39. If Tears Could Build a Stairway

If tears could build a stairway,
and memories a lane,
I’d walk right up to Heaven
and bring you home again.
No farewell words were spoken
no time to say goodbye
you were gone before I knew it,
and only God knows why.
My heart still aches in sadness
and secret tears still flow,
what it meant to lose you,
no one will ever know.

Anonymous

 

40. I’ll Lend You a Child

“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of Mine.” He said.
“For you to love the while he lives
And mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years
Or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for Me?”
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you,
And should his stay be brief
You’ll have his lovely memories
As solace for your grief.”

“I cannot promise he will stay
Since all from Earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over
In my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Not think the labour vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call
And take him back again.”

I fancied that I heard them say,
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done,
For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness,
We’ll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known,
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him
Much sooner than we planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.”

Edgar Guest
1881-1959

 

41. I Live On

Don’t cry for me in sadness; don’t weep for me in sorrow,
For I will be beside you, as sure as comes tomorrow.
My body has gone but my spirit lives on, as does my love for you.

Anonymous

 

Tennyson's In Memoriam42. In Memoriam

I envy not in any moods,
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:

I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;

Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weed of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.

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
1809-1892

 

43. Indian Prayer

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much.
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it’s pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.

Traditional

 

44. Irish Blessing

May the roads rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Anonymous

 

45. In Heavenly Love Abiding

In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear.
And safe in such confiding, for nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me, my heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?

Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back.
My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waking, His sight is never dim.
He knows the way He’s taking, and I will walk with Him.

Green pastures are before me, which yet I have not seen.
Bright skies will soon be over me, where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free.
My Savior has my treasure, and He will walk with me.

 Anna Waring
1823-1910

 

46. It is Well with My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Refrain
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio G. Spafford
1828-1888

 

Christian Funeral Poetry47. Jesus Lives and So Shall I

Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and reigns supreme,
And, his kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised: be it must:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and by his grace,
Vict’ry o’er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways,
Ever to his glory living.
Me he raises from the dust.
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, I know full well
Nought from him my heart can sever,
Life nor death nor powers of hell,
Joy nor grief, hence forth forever.
None of all his saints is lost;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and death is now
But my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.

Christian F. Gellert
1715-1769

 

48. Life, Believe, is Not a Dream

Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day.
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom,
O why lament its fall?

Rapidly, merrily
Life’s sunny hours flit by,
Gratefully, cheerily,
Enjoy them as they fly!

What though Death at times steps in
And calls our best away?
What though sorrow seems to win,
O’er hope, a heavy sway?
Yet hope again elastic springs,
Unconquered, though she fell;
Still buoyant are her golden wings,
Still strong to bear us well.
Manfully, fearlessly,
The day of trial bear,
For gloriously, victoriously,
Can courage quell fear!

Charlotte Bronte
1816-1855

 

Paths49. 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

Anonymous

 

50. Let Your Thoughts Be With the Living

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much.
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it’s pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.

Anonymous

 

51. The Lord is My Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd;
   I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
   for ever.

Psalm 23
The Bible, King James Version

 

52. Love Poem

A million times we’ve missed you,
a million times we’ve cried.

If love could have saved you,
You never would have died.

Things we feel most deeply
Are the hardest things to say.

Our dearest one, we have loved you
In a very special way.

Anonymous

 

53. Love Sonnets

When I die, I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and wheat of your beloved hands
To pass their freshness over me once more:
I want to feel the softness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep.
I want your ears still to hear the wind,
I want you to sniff the sea’s aroma that we loved together,
To continue to walk on the sand we walk on.

I want what I love to continue to live,
And you whom I love and sang above everything else
To continue to flourish, full-flowered;

So that you can reach everything my love directs you to,
So that my shadow can travel along in your hair,
So that everything can learn the reason for my song.

Pablo Neruda
1904-1973

 

Poetry54. 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 for long,
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go!
For this a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone;
It’s all a part of the master’s plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me, but let me go.

Anonymous
Attributed to Robyn Rancman

 

55.  My Soul is Full

My soul is full of whispered song;
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are all alive with light.

Alice Cary
1820-1871

 

 

56. The New Life’s Salutation

Life, we’ve been long together
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;
‘Tis hard to part when friends are dear,
Perhaps ’twill cost a sigh, a tear;
Then steal away, give little warning,
Choose thine own time:
Say not “Good night,” but in some brighter clime
Bid me “Good morning.”

Anna Barbauld
1743-1825

 

101 Funeral Poems57. 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?

Anonymous

 

58. Not in Vain

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson
1830-1886

 

59. O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

George Matheson
1842-1906

 

60. Peace My Heart

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light your way.

Rabindranath Tagore
1861-1941

 

61. 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

 

Sailing Funeral Poems62. Requiem

Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he long’d to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Robert Louis Stevenson
1850-1894

 

63. 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

 

64. 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

 

65. Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labours of my hands
can fulfil thy law’s commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Saviour, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.

Augustus Toplady
1740-1778

 

66. She Is Gone

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 that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
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 her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkins

 

67. She Passed Away Like Morning Dew

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
1796-1849

 

Silent Tear - Memorial Poem68. Silent Tear

Each night we shed a silent tear,
As we speak to you in prayer.
To let you know we love you,
And just how much we care.
Take our million teardrops,
Wrap them up in love,
Then ask the wind to carry them,
To you in heaven above.

Anonymous

 

69. So Go and Run Free

So go and run free with the angels
Dance around the golden clouds
For the lord has chosen you to be with him
And we should feel nothing but proud
Although he has taken you from us
And our pain a lifetime will last
Your memory will never escape us
But make us glad for the time we did have
Your face will always be hidden
Deep inside our hearts
Each precious moment you gave us
Shall never, ever depart
So go and run free with the angels
As they sing so tenderly
And please be sure to tell them
To take good care of you for me

Anonymous

 

70. Sometimes God Picks a Flower

Sometimes God picks a flower that’s still in full bloom.
Sometimes the flower that is chosen, we feel He’s picked too soon.
We’re at peace knowing; in God’s heavenly garden,
He has placed the ones we treasure.
You have changed our lives forever.

Anonymous

 

Sonnet XXX71. Sonnet XXX

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear times’ waste;
Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.

William Shakespeare
1564-1616

 

72. Stairway

If tears could build a stairway,
and memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven
and bring you back again.

Anonymous

 

73. Success

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has left the world better than he found it;
Who has looked for the best in others and given the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory is a benediction.

Robert Louis Stevenson
1850-1894

 

74. Success

To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent persons
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And to endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one’s self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know that even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived –
This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882

 

Funeral Hymns and Poetry75. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Traditional

 

76. There Is A Plan Far Greater

There is a plan far greater than the plan you know;
There is a landscape broader than the one you see.
There is a haven where storm – tossed souls may go-
You call it death – we, immortality.

You call it death – this seemingly endless sleep;
We call it birth – the soul at last set free.
‘Tis hampered not by time or space – you weep.
Why weep at death? ‘Tis immortality.

Farewell, dear Voyageur – ’twill not be long.
Your work is done – now may peace rest with thee.
Your kindly thoughts and deeds – they will live on.
This is not death – ’tis immortality.

Farewell, dear voyageur – the river winds and turns;
The cadence of your song wafts near to me,
And now you know the thing that all men learn:
There is no death – there’s immortality.

Anonymous

 

77. There Is No Death

There is no death! The stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in heaven’s jeweled crown
They shine forevermore.

There is no death! The forest leaves
Convert to life the viewless air;
The rocks disorganize to feed
The hungry moss they bear.

There is no death! The dust we tread
Shall change, beneath the summer showers
To golden grain, or mellowed fruit,
Or rainbow-tinted flowers.

There is no death! The leaves may fall,
And flowers may fade and pass away–
They only wait, through wintry hours,
The warm, sweet breath of May.

There is no death! The choicest gifts
That heaven hath kindly lent to earth
Are ever first to seek again
The country of their birth.

And all things that for growth or joy
Are worthy of our love or care,
Whose loss has left us desolate,
Are safely garnered there.

Though life becomes a desert waste,
We know it’s fairest, sweetest flowers,
Transplanted into Paradise,
Adorn immortal bowers.

The voice of birdlike melody
That we have missed and mourned so long,
Now mingles with the angel choir
In everlasting song.

There is no death! Although we grieve
When beautiful, familiar forms
That we have learned to love are torn
From our embracing arms–

Although with bowed and breaking heart,
With sable garb and silent tread,
We bear their senseless dust to rest,
And say that they are “dead,”

They are not dead! They have but passed
Beyond the mists that blind us here
Into the new and larger life
Of that serener sphere.

They have but dropped their robe of clay
To put their shining raiment on;
They have not wandered far away–
They are not “lost nor “gone.”

Though disenthralled and glorified
They still are here and love us yet;
The dear ones they have left behind
They never can forget.

And sometimes, when our hearts grow faint
Amid temptations fierce and deep,
Or when the wildly raging waves
Of grief or passion sweep,

We feel upon our fevered brow
Their gentle touch, their breath of balm;
Their arms enfold us, and our hearts
Grow comforted and calm.

And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear, immortal spirits tread–
For all the boundless universe
Is Life–there are no dead!

J. L. McCreery
1835-1906

 

78. 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
1900-1981

 

Our path emerges for awhile...79. They Are Not Long

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for awhile, then closes
Within a dream.

Ernest Dowson
1867-1900

 

80. They That Love Beyond the World

They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it,
death cannot kill what never dies.
Nor can spirits ever be divided that love
and live in the same divine principle,
the root and record of their friendship.
If absence be not death, neither is theirs.
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas;
they live in one another still.
For they must needs be present,
that love and live in that which is ominipresent.
In this divine glass, they see face to face;
and their converse is free as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends,
that though they may be said to die,
yet their friendship and society are,
in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.

William Penn
1644-1718

 

81. Through the Love of God Our Savior

Through the love of God our Savior, All will be well
Free and changeless is His favor, All is well
Precious is the blood that healed us
Perfect is the grace that sealed us
Strong the hand stretched forth to shield us
All must be well

Though we pass through tribulation, All will be well
Ours is such a full salvation, All is well
Happy still in God confiding
Fruitful if in Christ abiding
Steadfast through the Spirit’s guiding
All must be well

We expect a bright tomorrow; All will be well
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, All is well
On our Father’s love relying
Jesus every need supplying
Yes in living or in dying
All must be well

Mary Bowley Peters
1813-1856
A wonderful recording of this poem is available here

 

Memorial Poetry82. Time Will Ease the Hurt

The sadness of the present days
Is locked and set in time,
And moving to the future
Is a slow and painful climb.

But all the feelings that are now
So vivid and so real
Can’t hold their fresh intensity
As time begins to heal.

No wound so deep will ever go
Entirely away;
Yet every hurt becomes
A little less from day to day.

Nothing else can erase the painful
Imprints on your mind;
But there are softer memories
That time will let you find.

Though your heart won’t let the sadness
Simply slide away,
The echoes will diminish
Even though the memories stay.

Bruce Wilmer

 

83. To Daffodils

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Stay, stay
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the evensong;
And having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Away
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.

Robert Herrick
1591-1674

 

84. To Everything There Is a Season

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the 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;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
The Bible, King James Version

 

85. To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, than thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor aught by love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way reply;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more we may live ever.

Anne Bradstreet
1612-1672

 

86. To Those I Love

If I should ever leave you whom I love
To go along the Silent Way, grieve not,
Nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk
Of me as if I were beside you there,
(I’d come… I’d come, could I but find a way!
But would not tears and grief be barriers?)
And when you hear a song or see a bird I loved,
Please do not let the thought of me be sad…
For I am loving you just as I always have…
You were so good to me!
There are so many things I wanted still to do…
So many things to say to you…
Remember that I did not fear…
It was just leaving you that was so hard to face…
We cannot see Beyond… But this I know;
I loved you so…
‘Twas heaven here with you!

Isla Paschal Richardson

 

87. We Little Knew That Morning

We little knew that morning
God was to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly,
in death we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone.
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.

You left us beautiful memories,
Your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you,
You are always at our side.

Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.

Anonymous

 

Funeral Poetry - Helen Keller88. What We Have Once Enjoyed

What we have once enjoyed
we can never lose;
All that we love deeply,
becomes a part of us.

Helen Keller
1880-1968

 

89. When At Heart You Should Be Sad

When at heart you should be sad,
Pondering the joys we had,
Listen and keep very still.
If the lowing from the hill
Or the toiling of a bell
Do not serve to break the spell,
Listen: you may be allowed
To hear my laughter from a cloud.

Sir Walter Raleigh
1554-1618

 

90. When I am Dead, My Dearest

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 feel 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 Rossetti
1830-1894

 

91. When I Must Leave

When I must leave you for a while
Please do not grieve and shed wild tears
And hug your sorrow to you through the years
But start out bravely with a gallant smile
And for my sake and in my name
Live on and do all the things the same
Feed not your lonliness on empty days
But fill each working hour in useful ways
Reach out your hand in comfort and in cheer
And I in turn will comfort you and hold you near
And never, never be afraid to die
For I am waiting for you in the sky.

Anonymous

 

92. When I’m Gone

When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile

Forget unkind words I have spoken
Remember some good I have done
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I’ve had loads of fun

Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way
Remember I have fought some hard battles
And won, ere the close of the day

Then forget to grieve for my going
I would not have you sad for a day
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay

And come in the shade of evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best

Mrs. Lyman Hancock

 

101 Funeral Poems93. When I Survery the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts
1674-1748

 

94. When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.

William Shakespeare
1564-1616

 

95. When We’re Not Together

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…
there is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is,
even if we’re apart…
I’ll always be with you.”

A. A. Milne
1182-1956

 

101 Funeral Poems96. When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats
1865-1939

 

97. Where I Have Gone I Am Not So Small

Where I have gone I am not so small
My soul is as wide as the world is tall
I have gone to answer the call, the call
Of the One who takes care of us all

Wherever you look, you will find me there-
In the heart of a rose
In the heart of a prayer

On butterflies’ wings, on wings of my own,
To you, I’m gone,
But I’m never alone-
I am home

Anonymous

 

98. The World’s Greatest Need

A little kindness and a little less greed;
A little more giving and a little less need;
A little more smile and a little less frown;
A little less kicking a man when he’s down;
A little more ‘we’ and a little less ‘I’;
a little more laughs and a little less cry;
A little more flowers on the pathway of life;
And fewer on graves at the end of the strife.

C. Austin Miles
1868-1956

 

99. You Know How Little Time We Have to Stay

You know how little time we have to stay,
And once departed, may return no more.

Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
Today of past Regrets and future fears.

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust unto Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
Sans Wine, Sans Song, sans Singer and sans End!

The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

Omar Khayyam
1048-1138

 

100. You’ll Never Walk Alone

When you walk through the storm
Hold your head up high,
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone.
You’ll never walk alone.

Oscar Hammerstein
1895-1960

 

Funeral Poetry101. You’re My Star, My Dear

The beam shines down,
The rays so bright,
The stars come forward,
At the dead of night.

I feel you close,
You’re always here,
The glow of the sun,
You’re my star, my dear.

An angel gained,
A distance apart,
Our friendship lives on,
A place in my heart.

I feel you close,
You’re always here,
The glow of the sun,
You’re my star, my dear.

A loss like this,
Won’t heal too soon,
You light the sky,
The sun, the stars, the moon.

I feel you close,
You’re always here,
The glow of the sun,
You’re my star, my dear.

Anonymous

 

Funeral poems for memorial services

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3 thoughts on “101 Funeral Poems

  1. Poem 15, Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep, was written by Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932.

  2. Great collection! However, two problems:
    1) Are you aware that poems 43 and 50 are the exact same poem, except with different titles and different credits? Which one is correct?
    2) The wording in the two side-by-side versions of poem 88 by Helen Keller is quite different in each one. Which version is correct?

  3. Hi Katrina,

    Great catch! Poems 43 and 50 are indeed the same, it’s known by the two different titles so we will go ahead and leave them in case people are searching by poem title. As for the Helen Keller quote, I believe the one we’ve quoted is a ‘versified’ rendition of the quote which originally appeared in Keller’s writing in prose. So I believe the original, “correct” version goes like this: “What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”

    Thanks for commenting!

    Daniel

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