Below we’ve included some of the most touching funeral poems that have inspired us at Grief Encounter. We have found that its really hard to find a poem that fits just for the person who has died, so we would also encourage you to write your own, taking inspiration from the funeral poems below.
There are more funeral poems in our Bad Time Rhymes Poetry book and some guidance on how to write poetry. In the words of former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, “Poetry is, amongst other things, a source of comfort and consolation as well as a means of self release.”
After you’ve read our favourites, please tell us yours in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.
Our Founder Patron, Kevin Wells read this funeral poem at the funeral of his daughter Holly Wells:
Your right to grow, to mature and to play
So cruelly denied in a sinister way.
Attentive and caring, a parent’s delight
But, so young at heart, needing comfort at night.
The garden is quiet, the house is too
But pausing for a moment, we can still sense you.
Your trusting nature and desire to please all
Allow us your family, to remain walking tall.
Our memories, now shared with the Nation’s hearts
Small crumbs of comfort, now it is time to part.
We will never ever forget you, Heaven’s gain as it is knows
Is simply you Holly, our beautiful Soham Rose.
Bereaved child Will (aged 10) wrote and read this funeral poem at his father’s funeral:
To me you were always number one
Your life can never truly be done,
You are the obvious number one dad,
You passed away and made me really sad.
I loved you lots and was really proud.
You’ve gone up to live on a big fluffy cloud.
You died at the age of forty one,
Leaving me your ever loving son.
I love you Dad, I miss you tons
You left 3 loving sons.
A wife, a mum, a dad.
You passed away and made us all sad.
A sister, a brother-in-law, a nephew,
I want you to know they love you too…..
‘She is Gone’ by 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 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.
‘When God saw you getting tired’ by Anon
When God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
He put his arms around you
And whispered come to me
He didn’t like what you went through
And he gave you rest
His garden must be beautiful
He only takes the best
And when we saw you sleeping
So peaceful and free from pain
We wouldn’t wish you back
To suffer that again
Today we say goodbye
And as you take your final rest
That garden must be beautiful
Because you are one of the best.
‘If I should go tomorrow’ by Anon
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.
‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’ by Mary 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.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.
‘Silent tear’ by Anon
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.
‘The Life That I Have’ by Leo Marks
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
‘Funeral Blues’ by 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.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
‘But Not Forgotten’ by Dorothy Parker
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.
‘I carry your heart’ by E.E.Cummings
“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”
So, what are your favourite funeral poems? Comment below!