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Best Funeral Poems

Introduction

Grief and stress can be overwhelming and make it difficult to find the right words to say at a funeral or memorial. Reciting a poem is a powerful way to honor a loved one.

Here is a collection of expressive poems. To make it easier to find the perfect poem we organized them by family member: mother, father, child, spouse, grandma, grandpa, and friend, as well as classic and modern selections.

Funeral Poems

Families often look for poems to read and share during the funeral or memorial service. Poems can also be used in obituaries and sympathy cards to articulate the feelings of the bereaved.

Poetry can be comforting in times of inexpressible grief. It can also help you find a voice to convey your feelings as you honor your loved one.

When choosing an appropriate funeral poem, search for ones that capture the essence of the deceased or your relationship with them. It may be as simple as reading their favorite poem. It may not seem to fit at first, but often it is the most poignant choice.

Outlined below are some of the best funeral poems for readings at funeral services.

Classic Funeral Poems

Many classical poems express an appreciation of the natural world or address the subjects of death directly. These all contain meaningful messages to recite during a funeral service. Here are some famous and classic funeral poems.

Warm Summer Sun by Mark Twain

Warm Summer Sun

Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.

Under the Harvest Moon by Carl Sandburg 

Under the Harvest Moon

Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.

Loss by Winifred M. Letts 

Loss

In losing you I lost my sun and moon
And all the stars that blessed my lonely night.
I lost the hope of Spring, the joy of June,
The Autumn’s peace, the Winter’s firelight.
I lost the zest of living, the sweet sense
Expectant of your step, your smile, your kiss;
I lost all hope and fear and keen suspense
For this cold calm, sans agony, sans bliss.
I lost the rainbow’s gold, the silver key
That gave me freedom of my town of dreams;
I lost the path that leads to Faërie
By beechen glades and heron-haunted streams.
I lost the master word, dear love, the clue
That threads the maze of life when I lost you.

Forever by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Forever

I had not known before
Forever was so long a word.
The slow stroke of the clock of time
I had not heard.

‘Tis hard to learn so late;
It seems no sad heart really learns,
But hopes and trusts and doubts and fears,
And bleeds and burns.

The night is not all dark,
Nor is the day all it seems,
But each may bring me this relief—
My dreams and dreams.

I had not known before
That Never was so sad a word,
So wrap me in forgetfulness—
I have not heard.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond 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.

I Heard Your Voice In The Wind Today by Unknown

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.

Because I could not stop for Death (479) by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death (479)

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

Modern Funeral Poems

Modern poetry is filled with poems that articulate the overwhelming feelings of losing someone. These are five of the best modern funeral poems to read during a service.

A Song Of Living by Amelia Josephine Burr

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.

There Is No Night Without A Dawning by Helen Steiner Rice

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

The Life That I Have by Leo Marks

The Life That I Have

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

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.

My Memory Library by Sarah B. Blackstone

My Memory Library

Imagine if I was given one moment,
just a single slice of my past.
I could hold it close forever,
and that moment would always last.

I’d put the moment in a safe,
within my heart’s abode.
I could open it when I wanted,
and only I would know the code.

I could choose a time of laughing,
a time of happiness and fun.
I could choose a time that tried me
through everything I’ve done.

I sat and thought about what moment
would always make me smile.
One that would always push me
to walk that extra mile.

If I’m feeling sad and low,
if I’m struggling with what to do,
I can go and open my little safe
and watch my moment through.

There are moments I can think of
that would lift my spirits every time.
The moments when you picked me up,
when the road was hard to climb.

For me to only pick one moment
to cherish, save and keep
is proving really difficult,
as I’ve gathered up a heap!

I’ve dug deep inside my heart,
found the safe and looked inside
There was room for lots of moments;
in fact, hundreds if I tried.

I’m building my own little library,
embedded in my heart,
for all the moments spent with you
before you had to part.

I can open it up whenever I like,
pick a moment and watch it through,
My little library acts as a promise
I’ll never ever forget you.

 To Those Whom I Love & Those Who Love Me by Anonymous

To Those Whom I Love & Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears,
But be thankful we had so many good years.

I gave you my love, and you can only guess
How much you’ve given me in happiness.
I thank you for the love that you have shown,
But now it is time I traveled on alone.

So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It is only for a while that we must part,
So treasure the memories within your heart.

I won’t be far away for life goes on.
And if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can’t see or touch me, I will be near.
And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear,
All my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and a ‘Welcome Home’.

Poetry Notebook

Funeral Poems for Mom

Below is a selection of funeral poems suitable for mothers. They express love, longing, and appreciation for a mom who had a huge impact on someone’s life. (all of them)

In Memory Of My Mother by Patrick Kavanagh

In Memory of My Mother

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday –
You meet me and you say:
‘Don’t forget to see about the cattle – ‘
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life –
And I see us meeting at the end of a town

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us – eternally.

Mother in Gladness, Mother in Sorrow by W. Dayton Wedgefarth

Mother in Gladness, Mother in Sorry

Mother in gladness, Mother in sorrow,
Mother today, and Mother tomorrow,
With arms ever open to fold and caress you
O Mother of Mine, may God keep you and bless you.

Mother in gladness, Mother in sorrow,
Mother today, and Mother tomorrow,
With arms ever open to fold and caress you
O Mother of Mine, may God keep you and bless you.

Kaddish by David Ignatow

Kaddish

Mother of my birth, for how long were we together
in your love and my adoration of your self?
For the shadow of a moment, as I breathed your pain
and you breathed my suffering. As we knew
of shadows in lit rooms that would swallow the light.

Your face beneath the oxygen tent was alive
but your eyes closed, your breathing hoarse.
Your sleeping was with death. I was alone
with you as when I was young
but now only alone, not with you,
to become alone forever, as I was learning
watching you become alone.

Earth now is your mother, as you were mine, my earth,
my sustenance and my strength,
and now without you I turn to your mother
and seek from her that I may meet you again
in rock and stone. Whisper to the stone,
I love you. Whisper to the rock, I found you.
Whisper to the earth, Mother, I have found her,
and I am safe and always have been.

The Mother by Robert William Service

The Mother

Your children grow from you apart,
Afar and still afar;
And yet it should rejoice your heart
To see how glad they are;
In school and sport, in work and play,
And last, in wedded bliss
How others claim with joy to-day
The lips you used to kiss.

Your children distant will become,
And wide the gulf will grow;
The lips of loving will be dumb,
The trust you used to know
Will in another’s heart repose,
Another’s voice will cheer…
And you will fondle baby clothes
And brush away a tear.

But though you are estranged almost,
And often lost to view,
How you will see a little ghost
Who ran to cling to you!
Yet maybe children’s children will
Caress you with a smile…
Grandmother love will bless you still,-
Well, just a little while.

She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Funeral Poems for Dad

These poems honor fathers and are appropriate for funeral and memorial service readings. These are poems that express longing for the presence of a nurturing man and a loving dad.

Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas 

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Nothing Is Lost by Anne Barbara Ridler

Nothing Is Lost

Nothing is lost.
We are too sad to know that, or too blind;
Only in visited moments do we understand:
It is not that the dead return —
They are about us always, though unguessed.

This penciled Latin verse
You dying wrote me, ten years past and more,
Brings you as much alive to me as the self you wrote it for,
Dear father, as I read your words
With no word but Alas.

Lines in a letter, lines in a face
Are the faithful currents of life: the boy has written
His parents across his forehead, and as we burn
Our bodies up each seven years,
His own past self has left no plainer trace.

Nothing dies.
The cells pass on their secrets, we betray them
Unknowingly: in a freckle, in the way
We walk, recall some ancestor,
And Adam in the color of our eyes.

Yes, on the face of the new born,
Before the soul has taken full possession,
There pass, as over a screen, in succession
The images of other beings:
Face after face looks out, and then is gone.

Nothing is lost, for all in love survive.
I lay my cheek against his sleeping limbs
To feel if he is warm, and touch in him
Those children whom no shawl could warm,
No arms, no grief, no longing could revive.

Thus what we see, or know,
Is only a tiny portion, at the best,
Of the life in which we share; an iceberg’s crest
Our sunlit present, our partial sense,
With deep supporting multitudes below.

Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson

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 longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill
.

To His Dead Body by Siegfried Sassoon

To His Dead Body

When roaring gloom surged inward and you cried,
Groping for friendly hands, and clutched, and died,
Like racing smoke, swift from your lolling head
Phantoms of thought and memory thinned and fled.

Yet, though my dreams that throng the darkened stair
Can bring me no report of how you fare,
Safe quit of wars, I speed you on your way
Up lonely, glimmering fields to find new day,
Slow-rising, saintless, confident and kind—
Dear, red-faced father God who lit your mind.

To My Father by Georgia Harkness

To My Father

A giant pine, magnificent and old
Stood staunch against the sky and all around
Shed beauty, grace and power.
Within its fold birds safely reared their young.
The velvet ground beneath was gentle,
and the cooling shade gave cheer to passers by.
Its towering arms a landmark stood, erect and unafraid,
As if to say, “Fear naught from life’s alarms”.

It fell one day.
Where it had dauntless stood was loneliness and void.
But men who passed paid tribute – and said,
“To know this life was good,
It left it’s mark on me. Its work stands fast”.
And so it lives. Such life no bonds can hold –
This giant pine, magnificent and old.

Funeral Poems for a Child

The funeral poems below are meaningful examples to read during a funeral service that articulate the sorrow and grief of a lost child.

Portrait of a Father After His Son’s Memorial Service by Rigoberto González

Portrait of a Father After His Son’s Memorial Service

There’s a man who sits on a bench
waiting for a train, though the trains
arrive and depart and the man remains
seated, the heaviness of resignation on

his face. As evening falls the light flickers
awake in the waiting room and a moth
begins to flutter in and out of sight
until it rests finally on the white bulb

above his head. All things come to calm
this way—even the trains. The cycles
of grinding metal stretch out into yawns—
each iron wheel a flower folding its petals in.

Night concludes its hymn. The man rises but
hesitates to leave this station of his cross.

To Theodore by George Marion McClellan

To Theodore

Such are the little memories of you;
They come and go, return and lie apart
From all main things of life; yet more than they,
With noiseless feet, they come and grip the heart.
Gay laughter leading quick and stormy tears,
Then smiles again and pulse of flying feet,
In breathless chase of fleeting gossamers,
Are memories so dear, so bitter-sweet.

No more are echoes of your flying feet.
Hard by, where Pike’s Peak rears its head in state,
The erstwhile rushing feet, with halting steps,
For health’s return in Denver watch and wait.
But love and memories of noiseless tread,
Where angels hovered once, all shining fair,
To tuck you in your little trundle bed,
Kneel nightly now in agony of prayer.

My Mother and Lucille Clifton Have Tea by Parneshia Jones

My Mother and Lucille Clifton Have Tea

When I get to where I’m going
I want the death of my children explained to me.

                                                       —Lucille Clifton

They meet over tea and potato chips.
Brown and buttermilk women,
hipped and hardened,
legs uncrossed but proper
still in their smiles;
smiles that carry a sadness in faint creases.
A sadness they will never be without.

One asks the other,
“What do they call a woman who has lost a child?”

The other sighs between sips of lukewarm tea.
There is no name for us.

“No name? But there has to be a name for us.
We must have something to call ourselves.”

Surely, history by now and all the women
who carry their babies’ ghosts on their backs,
mothers who wake up screaming,
women wide awake in their nightmares,
mothers still expected to be mothers and human,
women who stand under hot showers weeping,
mothers who wish they could drown standing up,
women who can still smell them—hear them,
the scent and symphony of their children,
deep down in the good earth.

“Surely, history has not forgotten to name us?”

No woman wants to bear
whatever could be the name for this grief.
Even if she must bear the grief for all her days,
it would be far too painful to be called by that name.

“I’ve lost two, you know.”
Me too.
“I was angry at God, you know.”
Me too.
“I stopped praying but only for a little while,
and then I had no choice. I had to pray again.
I had to call out to something that was no longer there.
I had to believe God knew where it was.”

“I fear death no longer. It has taken everything.
But should I be? Should I be afraid of what death has taken?
That it took and left no name?”

The other who sighs between sips of lukewarm tea
leans over and kisses the cheek of the one still with questions.
She whispers…

No, you don’t have to be afraid.
Death is no more scary than the lives we have lived
without our babies, bound to this grief
with no name.

A Child Of Mine by Edgar Guest 

A Child Of Mine

I will 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 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,
Nor think the labour vain.
Nor hate me when I come
To take him home again?
I fancied that I heard them say,
‘Dear Lord, Thy will be done!’
For all the joys Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll 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’ve planned.
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand.

If I Could Hear Her by Carolyn Ferreira

If I Could Hear Her

I see your teardrops falling.
I hear you cry my name.
I know you cannot see me,
but I hold you just the same.

I watch as you lie abed
as restless as can be.
I hear your whispered words
as you pray for dreams of me.

Every day for you is painful.
Each breath, each step you take,
but as the wise mom, I know
a future you will make.

I envelope you in my love
as for me you used to do.
It’s hard to see you in such pain.
Forever the strong one’s been you.

Although our lives’ journeys
have bid us to be apart,
I am with you, you are with me,
always in our hearts.

Funeral Poems for Spouses and Lovers

Losing a partner is emotionally painful and it can be hard to put your feelings in words. The funeral poems below fully capture the sorrowful experience of losing a spouse or a lover.

Rooms Remembered by Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Rooms Remembered

I needed, for months after he died, to remember our rooms—
            some lit by the trivial, others ample

with an obscurity that comforted us: it hid our own darkness.
            So for months, duteous, I remembered: 

rooms where friends lingered, rooms with our beds,
            with our books, rooms with curtains I sewed

from bright cottons. I remembered tables of laughter,
            a chipped bowl in early light, black

branches by a window, bowing toward night, & those rooms,
            too, in which we came together

to be away from all. And sometimes from ourselves:
            I remembered that, also. 

But tonight—as I stand in the doorway to his room
            & stare at dusk settled there—

what I remember best is how, to throw my arms around his neck,
            I needed to stand on the tip of my toes. 

The Sadness of Clothes by Emily Fragos

The Sadness of Clothes

When someone dies, the clothes are so sad. They have outlived
their usefulness and cannot get warm and full.
You talk to the clothes and explain that he is not coming back

as when he showed up immaculately dressed in slacks and plaid jacket
and had that beautiful smile on and you’d talk.
You’d go to get something and come back and he’d be gone.

You explain death to the clothes like that dream.
You tell them how much you miss the spouse
and how much you miss the pet with its little winter sweater.

You tell the worn raincoat that if you talk about it,
you will finally let grief out. The ancients etched the words
for battle and victory onto their shields and then they went out

and fought to the last breath. Words have that kind of power
you remind the clothes that remain in the drawer, arms stubbornly
folded across the chest, or slung across the backs of chairs,

or hanging inside the dark closet. Do with us what you will,
they faintly sigh, as you close the door on them.
He is gone and no one can tell us where.

The Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

The Song of Despair

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.

In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose.

You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!

It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.
The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.

Pilot’s dread, fury of a blind diver,
turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank!

In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,
sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!

I made the wall of shadow draw back,
beyond desire and act, I walked on.

Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,
I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.

Like a jar you housed the infinite tenderness,
and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar.

There was the black solitude of the islands,
and there, woman of love, your arms took me in.

There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.
There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle.

Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me
in the earth of yoursoul, in the cross of your arms!

How terrible and brief was my desire of you!
How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid.

Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs,
still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds.

Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs,
oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies.

Oh the mad coupling of hope and force
in which we merged and despaired.

And the tenderness, light as water and as flour.
And the word scarcely begun on the lips.

This was my destiny and in it was the voyage of my longing,
and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank!

Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you,
what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned!

From billow to billow you still called and sang.
Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel.

You still flowered in songs, you still broke in currents.
Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.

Pale blind diver, luckless slinger,
lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour
which the night fastens to all the timetables.

The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.
Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.

Deserted like th wharves at dawn.
Only the tremulous shadow twists in my hands.

Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything.

It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one.

And What If I Spoke of the Hours by Chelsea Dingman

And What If I Spoke of the Hours

that we might’ve been together 
at the union hall, with the beer

bottles and the night that didn’t fall
away? I might’ve saved you from

that car ride to the end of this calm

world. Would we have been happy?
The morning you died, I slept.

I got the kids up for school in the dark. 
There were hours that I thought

you were alive. I keep thinking
about the cost of living. Your body,

unwrung and above me. Clothes
scattered like the hours you were

missing. What is happiness?
What I count on is the dark. The light.

Wanting to live anyway. The river
in my teeth and the reasonable grass

under my feet like someone I loved
once, impossibly alive.

Elegy for my husband by Toi Derricotte 

Elegy for my husband

What was there is no longer there:
Not the blood running its wires of flame through the whole length
Not the memories, the texts written in the language of the flat hills
No, not the memories, the porch swing and the father crying
The genteel and elegant aunt bleeding out on the highway
(Too black for the white ambulance to pick up)
Who had sent back lacquered plates from China
Who had given away her best ivory comb that one time she was angry
Not the muscles, the ones the white girls longed to touch
But must not (for your mother warned
You would be lynched in that all-white Ohio town you grew up in)
Not that same town where you were the only, the one good black boy
All that is gone
Not the muscles running, the baseball flying into your mitt
Not the hand that laid itself over my heart and saved me
Not the eyes that held the long gold tunnel I believed in
Not the restrained hand in love and in anger
Not the holding back
Not the taut holding

Funeral Poems for Grandmother

In your lifetime, you are likely to experience the death of a grandparent. It is devastating to lose a grandma who might have been a second mom to you. The following are suitable poems for readings at a funeral to express how you miss your grandmother.

The Rose Beyond the Wall by A.L. Frink

The Rose Beyond the Wall

A rose once grew where all could see
Sheltered beside a garden wall
And, as the days past swiftly by
It spread its branches, straight and tall

One day, a beam of light shone through
A crevice that had opened wide
The rose bent gently toward its warmth
Then passed beyond to the other side

Now, you who deeply feel its loss
Be comforted, the rose blooms there
It’s beauty even greater now
Nurtured by God’s own loving care.

Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 

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 tho’ 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 crost the bar.

An Admirable Woman by Crystal Foy

An Admirable Woman

There is a woman who always keeps her head up high.
Her eyes sparkle like a bright star in the sky.
She has the stamina, beauty, and courage that one would admire,
Even the love and happiness one inspires.
She is a women that one can always count on,
And a woman that sees no wrong.
Her beauty shines from the inside out,
It flows like a journey down a long route.
Her smile shines beautifully like the sun rising over the horizon,
And her intelligence, wisdom, and hard work are not surprising.
She is a genuinely caring women
Who goes the extra mile to help one in need or broken hearted,
And throughout all of her hard work,
No one ever sees her fall apart.

God’s Garden by Anonymous

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 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.

She Is Gone by David Harkins

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.

Funeral Poems for Grandfather

Losing a grandfather is a sad and painful experience for a grandchild. It is like losing a father figure full of love and kindness. To help express how you miss him, the following funeral poems are appropriate to honor the memory of your grandad

For My Grandpa by Ilona M. Blake

For My Grandpa

I know we are all feeling a little bit sad
That we’ve lost our Grandpa, our friend, and our dad.
Together we have cried an ocean of tears
As we feel so empty and hold many fears.

But Grandpa would want us to know he’s in a good place
And that he’s watching us all with a smile on his face,
As we have made him so proud, as proud as can be
That he has raised such a beautiful and special family.

Thinking back now, I really must say
I feel lucky and privileged to have known Grandpa to this day.
For in my life, you have played a special part.
The memories I will treasure and keep close to my heart.

For me, I am glad my little baby he got to meet.
And for all of us, be grateful, his life is now complete.
To each one of us he has loved and cared.
As a family, be thankful for the good times we shared.

Although he has gone, we will always be together,
And his spirit will live on in each one of us forever.
When you look to the sky, look for the brightest star,
As that will be Grandpa looking down on us from afar.

And now I would like to thank the good Lord above
For blessing us with our Grandpa, with his kindness and love.
Dear God, if it is not too much fuss,
Take extra special care of our Grandpa, for he is very dear to us.

Grandpa, if you are listening, say a prayer for us every day.
Be sure to protect us and guide us on our way.
We know when God called you, you had to go,
But we want you to know, Grandpa, we miss you and love you so.

Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden

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.

High Flight by John Gillespie Magee

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

To Laugh Often And Much by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To Laugh Often And Much

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of the intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know that one life has breathed easier
because you lived here.
This is to have succeeded.

In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 11 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 

In Memoriam A. H. H.

Calm is the morn without a sound,
         Calm as to suit a calmer grief,
         And only thro’ the faded leaf
The chestnut pattering to the ground:

Calm and deep peace on this high wold,
         And on these dews that drench the furze.
         And all the silvery gossamers
That twinkle into green and gold:

Calm and still light on yon great plain
         That sweeps with all its autumn bowers,
         And crowded farms and lessening towers,
To mingle with the bounding main:

Calm and deep peace in this wide air,
         These leaves that redden to the fall;
         And in my heart, if calm at all,
If any calm, a calm despair:

Calm on the seas, and silver sleep,
         And waves that sway themselves in rest,
         And dead calm in that noble breast
Which heaves but with the heaving deep.

Funeral Poems for a Friend

The following funeral poems capture the essence of a friendship—the kind of bond that outlives even death.

Travelling by William Wordsworth 

Travelling

This is the spot:—how mildly does the sun
Shine in between the fading leaves! the air
In the habitual silence of this wood
Is more than silent: and this bed of heath,
Where shall we find so sweet a resting-place?
Come!—let me see thee sink into a dream
Of quiet thoughts,—protracted till thine eye
Be calm as water when the winds are gone
And no one can tell whither.—my sweet friend!
We two have had such happy hours together
That my heart melts in me to think of it.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Consolation by Robert Louis Stevenson 

Consolation

Though he, that ever kind and true,
Kept stoutly step by step with you,
Your whole long, gusty lifetime through,
      Be gone a while before,
Be now a moment gone before,
Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restore
      Your friend to you.

He has but turned the corner — still
He pushes on with right good will,
Through mire and marsh, by heugh and hill,
      That self-same arduous way —
That self-same upland, hopeful way,
That you and he through many a doubtful day
      Attempted still.

He is not dead, this friend — not dead,
But in the path we mortals tread
Got some few, trifling steps ahead
      And nearer to the end;
So that you too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
      You fancy dead.

Push gaily on, strong heart! The while
You travel forward mile by mile,
He loiters with a backward smile
      Till you can overtake,
And strains his eyes to search his wake,
Or whistling, as he sees you through the brake,
      Waits on a stile.

How It Is by Maxine Kumin 

How It Is

Shall I say how it is in your clothes?
A month after your death I wear your blue jacket.   
The dog at the center of my life recognizes   
you’ve come to visit, he’s ecstatic.
In the left pocket, a hole.
In the right, a parking ticket
delivered up last August on Bay State Road.   
In my heart, a scatter like milkweed,
a flinging from the pods of the soul.
My skin presses your old outline.
It is hot and dry inside.

I think of the last day of your life,
old friend, how I would unwind it, paste   
it together in a different collage,
back from the death car idling in the garage,   
back up the stairs, your praying hands unlaced,   
reassembling the bits of bread and tuna fish   
into a ceremony of sandwich,
running the home movie backward to a space   
we could be easy in, a kitchen place
with vodka and ice, our words like living meat.

Dear friend, you have excited crowds
with your example. They swell
like wine bags, straining at your seams.   
I will be years gathering up our words,   
fishing out letters, snapshots, stains,
leaning my ribs against this durable cloth
to put on the dumb blue blazer of your death.

Elegy on Toy Piano by Dean Young

Elegy on Toy Piano

You don’t need a pony
to connect you to the unseeable
or an airplane to connect you to the sky.

Necessary it is to love to live
and there are many manuals
but in all important ways
one is on one’s own.

You need not cut off your hand.
No need to eat a bouquet.
Your head becomes a peach pit.
Your tongue a honeycomb.

Necessary it is to live to love,
to charge into the burning tower
then charge back out
and necessary it is to die.
Even for the trees, even for the pony
connecting you to what can’t be grasped.

The injured gazelle falls behind the
herd. One last wild enjambment.

Because of the sores in his mouth,
the great poet struggles with a dumpling.
His work has enlarged the world
but the world is about to stop including him.
He is the tower the world runs out of.

When something becomes ash,
there’s nothing you can do to turn it back.
About this, even diamonds do not lie.

Where To Find Poems

Countless poems have been written. Obviously, our selection is a drop of water in the sea. If you’re still looking for the perfect tribute to your loved one, the Poetry Foundation is a great place to start exploring. In particular, their collection titled Sorrow and Grieving is extremely powerful.

We have also collections of memorial poems and pet loss poems.

For hymns, see our favorite funeral hymns, and our collection of catholic funeral hymns.

For prayers, see funeral card prayers and memorial prayers.

FAQ

How do I pick an appropriate funeral poem?

To choose a suitable funeral poem for your loved one, look for poems that best capture your relationship with the deceased. Another option is to consider the favorite poem of the deceased. Regardless of subject matter, this is often the most poignant choice. A funeral poem does not just have to be about sadness and grief. It can also be about joy and hope.

What can you say in a funeral poem?

There are no rules regarding funeral poems. As a matter of fact, almost all words will take on special meaning in the context of a funeral. A funeral poem can talk about the feelings of grief and sorrow felt by the bereaved. Or it can be about the subjects of hope, family, and comfort during a difficult time. Use your imagination to honor your loved one in a truly unique way.

Can I include poems in eulogies and obituaries?

Yes. Adding poems to your eulogy is a great way to express your love and grief when honoring the memory of the deceased. It can enhance the eulogy and allow the listeners to relate to your speech. A short funeral poem can also be included in an obituary, which can be fitting especially if it articulately describes your grief.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading! We hope you find this helpful. If you have suggestions, or feedback, send us an email at info@in-valhalla.com.

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