Similar to music pieces played at a funeral service, funeral poems or reading can provide a delicate way for mourners to reflect on and remember those that have sadly passed away. We know that during the struggle of grief it can be hard to find the right words to pay tribute to your loved one. We have created this blog to help you during this difficult time by providing you with a wide selection of poems and readings for funerals to help pay tribute to those you have lost.
On this page you will find:
We have provided a selection of some of the most popular funeral poems and readings below. The tone and underlying message of these poems vary amongst themselves, but they remain a common choice for funerals for their own individual reasons:
She is gone / He 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 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.
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, we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you have 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.
Pray, 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 is the same as it ever was;
there is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well.
Let me go (Christina Georgina Rossetti)
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no tears 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 once we shared
Miss me – but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take
And for each must go alone
It’s all a part of a bigger plan
A step on the road to home
And when you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your tears in their loving arms
Miss me – but let me go.
Letter from heaven (Ruth Ann Mahaffey)
To my dearest family, some things I’d like to say.
But first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I’m writing this from heaven.
Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there’s no more tears of sadness;
Here is just eternal love.
Please do not be unhappy just because I am out of sight.
Remember that I am with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through.
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, “I welcome you.
It’s good to have you back again,
You were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family,
They’ll be here later on.
I need you here so badly, you are part of my plan.
There is so much that we can do, to help our mortal man”.
God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night the days chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to you….in the middle of the night.
When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years.
Because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.
I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you , you wouldn’t understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is over.
I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before.
There are rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
But together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too;
That as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.
If you can help somebody who is in sorrow and pain;
Then you can say to God at night….My day was not in vain.
And now I am contented… that my life was worthwhile.
Knowing as I passed along the way I made somebody smile.
So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low;
Just lend a hand to pick them up, as on your way you go.
When you’re walking down the street and you’ve got me on your mind;
I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.
And when it’s time for you to go…from that body to be free.
Remember you’re not going… you’re coming here to me.
Remember me (Margaret Mead)
To the living, I am gone,
To the sorrowful, I will never return,
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot speak, but I can listen.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore gazing at a beautiful sea,
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity,
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.
Broken chain (Ron Tranmer)
We little knew that morning that God was going 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 peaceful 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.
I’m there inside your heart (Unknown)
Right now I’m in a different place,
And though we seem apart,
I’m closer than I ever was,
I’m there inside your heart.
I’m with you when you greet each day
And while the sun shines bright,
I’m there to share the sunsets too,
I’m with you every night.
I’m with you when the times are good,
To share a laugh or two,
And if a tear should start to fall,
I’ll still be there for you.
And when that day arrives
That we no longer are apart,
I’ll smile and hold you close to me,
Forever in my heart.
Weep not for me though I am gone
Into that gentle night
Grieve if you will, but not for long
Upon my soul’s sweet flight
I am at peace, my soul’s at rest
There is no need for tears.
For with your love I was so blessed
For all those many years.
There is no pain, I suffer not,
The fear now all is gone.
Put now these things out of your thoughts
In your memory I live on.
Remember not my fight for breath
Remember not the strife
Please do not dwell upon my death,
But celebrate my life.
Feel no guilt in laughter (Unknown)
Feel no guilt in laughter,
He knows how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile
That he’s not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever,
He would not want you to.
He’d hope that you would carry on
The way you always do.
So talk about the good times
And the ways you showed you cared.
The days you spent together,
All the happiness you shared.
Let the memories surround you,
A word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture
A time, an hour, a day.
That brings him back as clearly
As though he were still here,
And fills you with the feelings
That he is always near.
For if you keep those memories
You will never be apart
And he will live forever
Locked safe within your heart.
If I should go (Unknown)
If I should go tomorrow,
It would never be good-bye,
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 your scars.
Many people wish for their loved one’s funeral service to focus on celebrating their life, rather than putting emphasis on their loss. Thus, in some cases, a funeral poem that is happy and uplifting may be more suitable to their funeral service. We have provided a small selection of uplifting funeral poems and readings below:
Afterglow (Helen Lowrie Marshall)
I’d like the memory of me
To be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow
Of smiles when day 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 I leave
Behind – when day is done.
The Dash (Linda Ellis)
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?
Gone from my sight (Luther F. Beecher)
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze,
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch her until she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: “There! She’s gone!”
Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side,
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of her destination.
Her diminished size is in me, and not in her.
And just at the moment
when someone at my side says: “There! She’s gone!”
there are other eyes that are watching for her coming;
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
“There she comes!”
Some people have spiritual beliefs about their passing, believing that their dying is not the end. Many feel that when someone sadly passes away whilst they leave their physical body, their presence remains in their loved one’s lives. We have listed some poems below that follow these beliefs:
I live on (Ron Tranmer)
I died but did not leave you.
I am here, and have not gone.
Though my spirit left my body
don’t be sad, for I live on.
My love is all around you.
Can you feel it? Can you see?
That gentle breeze upon your face
is not the wind…but me.
I’m the song of a bluebird
when spring is in the air.
I’m the roses in a garden.
You can find me everywhere.
Whenever you are missing me
look up to heaven’s skies.
I’m the twinkle in the stars.
I’m the sunset, and sunrise.
I’m a raindrop and a rainbow.
I’m the ocean’s waves of blue;
So everywhere you go you’ll know,
I live on, loving you.
Do not stand at my grave and weep (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 that swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
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.
His journeys just begun (Ellen Brenneman)
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.
No two people are the same, therefore a traditional and popular funeral poem may not always be suitable to pay tribute to them. Below we have listed some unusual funeral poems:
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…
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
When I’m gone (Mosiah Lyman Hancock)
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
Adrift (Mark Nepo)
Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibres of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very centre, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.
We have gathered a selection of poems that are focused around the loss of a parent:
My mother kept a Garden (Unknown)
My Mother kept a garden
A garden of the heart;
She planted all the good things,
That gave my life its start.
She turned me to the sunshine,
And encouraged me to dream:
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rains came,
She protected me enough;
But not too much, she knew I’d need
To stand up strong and tough.
Her constant good example,
Always taught me right from wrong;
Markers for my pathway
To last my whole life long.
I am my Mother’s garden,
I am her legacy.
And I hope today she feels the love,
Reflected back from me.
Dad (Karen Boyer)
He never looks for praises.
He’s never one to boast.
He just goes on quietly working
For those he loves the most.
His dreams are seldom spoken.
His wants are very few,
And most of the time his worries
Will go unspoken, too.
He’s there…a firm foundation
Through all our storms of life,
A sturdy hand to hold onto
In times of stress and strife.
A true friend we can turn to
When times are good or bad.
One of our greatest blessings,
The man that we call Dad.
As we look back (Unknown)
As we look back over time,
We find ourselves wondering…
Did we remember to thank you enough
For all you have done for us?
For all the times you were by our sides,
To help and support us,
To celebrate our successes,
To understand our problems,
And to accept our defeats?
Or for teaching us by your example,
The value of hard work, good judgement,
Courage and integrity?
We wonder if we ever thanked you
For the sacrifices you have made
To let us have the very best?
And for the simple things,
Like laughter, smiles and times we shared?
If we have forgotten to show our
Gratitude enough for all the things you did,
We’re thanking you now,
And hoping you knew all along,
How much you meant to us.
Below we have compiled a few funeral poems for the loss of a partner:
The life that I have (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 long green grass,
Will be yours and yours and yours.
My soulmate (John P. Read)
I remember your comforting voice.
Now there’s not a sound.
Only echoes from the past
Follow me around.
You’re always by my side,
But I can’t hold your hand.
The reason why God took you
I find hard to understand.
Summer days seem much shorter.
Dark nights just linger on.
Dreams turn into nightmares
When the one you love has gone.
But real love never fades.
It still burns like the sun.
Although they’re far away,
Those memories go on and on.
Her spirit will never die
It shines like the stars.
I know you’re sleeping in heaven,
But you’re living in my heart.
I thought of you with love today (Unknown)
I thought of you with love today,
But that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday,
And days before that too.
I think of you in silence,
I often speak your name.
All I have are memories,
And a picture in a frame.
Your memory is a keepsake,
With which I’ll never part.
God has you in His keeping,
I have you in my heart.
We have created a selection of funeral poems below that are focused around the loss of a child:
Little snowdrop (Unknown)
The world may never notice,
If a snowdrop doesn’t bloom,
Or even pause to wonder,
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way,
For all eternity,
The little one we longed for,
Was swiftly here and gone,
But the love that was then planted,
Is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do,
For every beating of our hearts,
Says that we love you.
The Cord (Unknown)
We are connected,
My child and I, by
An invisible cord,
Not seen by the eye.
Its not like the cord,
That connects us ‘til birth,
This cord cant be seen,
By any on Earth.
This cord does its work,
Right from the start.
It binds us together,
Attached to my heart.
I know that its there,
Though no one can see
The invisible cord,
From my child to me.
The strength of this cord,
Is hard to describe.
It can’t be destroyed,
It can’t be denied.
It’s stronger than any cord
Man could create.
It withstands the test,
Can hold any weight.
And though you are gone,
Though you’re not here with me,
This cord is still there,
But no one can see.
It pulls at my heart,
I am bruised, I am sore.
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.
I am thankful that God,
Connects us this way,
A mother and child,
Death can’t take it away.
For my little one (Mary Cathleen)
I never saw your twinkling eyes,
Or touched your precious feet.
I never shared a tiny yawn,
Or rocked you fast asleep.
I never kissed your tiny hands,
Or saw your little smile.
I never held you in my arms,
But I held you for a while.
Although I never saw your face,
Or heard your precious laughter,
You’re still my child whom I love,
And will forever after.
When a life is tragically cut short many of the popular funeral poems are not suitable, we have gathered a selection of funeral poems based around mourning those whose life has ended prematurely below:
The unfinished (Unknown)
We cannot judge a biography by its length,
Nor by the number of pages in it.
We must judge it by the richness of its contents,
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant.
We cannot judge a song by its duration,
Nor by the number of its notes.
We must judge it by the way it touches and lifts our souls,
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful.
And when something has enriched your life,
And when its melody lingers in your heart.
Is it unfinished?
Or is it endless?
Too soon (Mary Yarnall)
This was a life that had hardly begun,
No time to find your place in the Sun,
No time to do all you could have done,
But we loved you enough for a lifetime.
No time to enjoy the world and it’s wealth,
No time to take life down off the shelf,
No time to sing the songs of yourself,
Though you had enough love for a lifetime.
Those who life long endure sadness and tears,
But you’ll never suffer the sorrowing years,
No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears,
Just love – only love – in your lifetime.
If tears could build a stairway (Unknown)
If tears could build a stairway,
and memories were 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.
Our hearts still ache in sadness,
And secret tears still flow,
What it meant to lose you,
No one can ever know.
But now we know you want us,
To mourn for you no more,
To remember all the happy times,
Life still has much in store.
Since you’ll never be forgotten,
We pledge to you today.
A hallowed place within our hearts,
Is where you’ll always stay.
Some choose to combine readings from the Bible with religious poems for a funeral service. We have gathered a small selection of religious funeral poems below:
Gods Garden (Unknown)
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 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 bethine’.
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you didn’t go alone,
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.
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.
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
Below we have prepared some of the Bible readings commonly read at funeral services. We have also included an interpretation to help those who do not follow Christianity themselves but may be seeking a religious funeral reading for their loved one.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
This reading focuses around Jesus preparing his disciples for his death whilst reassuring them by advising them that they too will join him in heaven when they also pass away. This comforting scripture is often read at funerals as it directly references heaven and as the verse itself mentions that there are many rooms in the Lord’s house, this simply this means there is room for all in heaven.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
In this encouraging verse God asks us to not live in fear but to instead trust in him. He reassures us of his presence, that he will help us in our times of difficulty and will remain faithfully beside us. This scripture symbolises the relationship many have with their faith and their Lord. Mourners may find comfort in hearing this verse knowing that even now, in their weakest moment the Lord is still with them and their lost loved one.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing,
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths,
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley.
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all of the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Put simply, this reading uses the analogy of God as a Shepherd to reiterate the portrayal of God as a caretaker and protector of his people. In particular the line “I lack nothing” is incredibly powerful as it says that by having God in your life you have everything you need. As verse that talks about God’s dedication to his people, and in turn the dedication of those that follow him, this is a very popular Bible reading and hymn for funeral services.
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace,
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.
It is in this scripture that Simeon held Jesus, then only a baby in his arms. Knowing that Israel’s hopes rested on the coming Saviour a wave of revelation overcomes him, and he calls out to the Lord to say that he can now die in peace having seen Jesus. As this reading shows the strong faith of Simeon many choose to have this read at their loved one’s funeral, as a symbol of their lifelong faith.
“We would like to extend our thanks to Celebrants: Tara DeMarco, Geoff Plimbley and Helen Ward for advising us on popular poems and readings for funeral services.”
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