30 Beautiful Funeral Poems To Read At A Memorial Service
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  • Post published:11/11/2021
  • Post last modified:11/11/2021

Choosing a few words or a message for the dearly departed is a difficult decision. How do we say our final goodbyes?

Poetry is one of the best mediums for capturing and expressing emotions and is very common at all sorts of gatherings and events, including funerals.

The right verses for funerals can invoke celebration of a life well-lived or sorrow at the loss of a valuable and dearly loved friend or family member.

Popular Funeral Poems

These poems are popular for a reason. The following poems are well known for helping bereaved people express their grief and for providing them comfort.

Each of these poems is a tried and tasteful choice to be shared at a funeral among grieving friends and family.

1. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

2. Death Is Nothing At All by Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that 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 an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

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 round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

3. Let Me Go by Christina Georgina Rossetti

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 that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.

4. To Sleep by John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

Happy Funeral Poems

Funerals are as much a time to grieve as they are a time to celebrate a life lived. Happy or funny funeral poems definitely have some personality and bring some levity to the otherwise subdued, melancholy atmosphere of a funeral.

Just make sure that you know the other attendees fairly well and read the room, otherwise, your mileage may vary.

5. Last Will and Testament by Max Scratchmann

And as I sit upon my cloud and look down at the earth,
I’ll watch you use my worldly goods for festival and mirth,
And that will make me smile a smile, and have a laugh quite hearty,
To hear you say, the bugger’s dead, let’s have ourselves a party.

6. Afterglow by 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 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.

7. Happy the Man by John Dryden

Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul or rain or shine
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

Short Funeral Poems

Nobody likes long-winded, dry segments at an already dour event like a funeral. Keeping the attendees engaged with a brief but heartfelt poem can be a good way to make sure that your message is both heard and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

8. You’ve Just Walked On Ahead of Me by Joyce Grenfell

And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.

9. May The Road by Traditional Gaelic Blessing

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

10. ‘Tis Better to Have Loved and Lostby Alfred Lord Tennyson

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.

Non-Religious Funeral Poems

Whether you are religious or not there are some great options here, depending on the rest of the attendees and the dearly departed.

11. Life Well Lived by Unknown Author

A life well-lived is a precious gift,
of hope and strength and grace,
from someone who has made our world
a brighter, better place.

It’s filled with moments, sweet and sad
with smiles and sometimes tears,
with friendships formed and good times shared,
and laughter through the years.

A life well-lived is a legacy,
of joy and pride and pleasure,
a living, lasting memory
our grateful hearts will treasure.

12. Something Beautiful Remains

The tide recedes but leaves behind
bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle
warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, and yet it echoes
on in sweet refrains…..
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.

Funeral Poems for a Father

Fathers are role models for their children. They often form the second half of a loving parental duo but are always defined by their unique impact on their children.

Poems that bid farewell to fathers will help us remember them for the person that they became for the sake of their children.

13. That Man is a Success by Robert Louis Stevenson

That man is a success
who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent men and women
and the love of children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who leaves the world better than he found it,
who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty
or failed to express it;
who looked for the best in others,
and gave the best he had.

14. Daddy’s Hands by Holly Dunn

I remember Daddy’s hands, folded silently in prayer.
And reaching out to hold me, when I had a nightmare.
You could read quite a story, in the calluses and lines.
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind.
I remember Daddy’s hands, how they held my Mama tight,
And patted my back, for something done right.
There are things that I’ve forgotten, that I loved about the man,
But I’ll always remember the love in Daddy’s hands.
Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’.
Daddy’s hands, were hard as steel when I’d done wrong.
Daddy’s hands, weren’t always gentle But I’ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy’s hands.
I remember Daddy’s hands, working ’til they bled.
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.
If I could do things over, I’d live my life again.
And never take for granted the love in Daddy’s hands.
Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’.
Daddy’s hands, were hard as steel when I’d done wrong.
Daddy’s hands, weren’t always gentle But I’ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy’s hands.

15. A Poem for Dad by J. Allen Shaw

Dad, I am often told I am just like you.
I am honored beyond measure if that is true.
You were the best example of what a man should be.
I am overwhelmed that someone would say that of me.

I never told you enough, how proud I am to be called your son,
Now that you are gone, I want to tell everyone.
You gave me much more than a name,
Someday, I hope my son says the same.

16. Dad

We’ll always remember
That special smile,
That caring heart,
That warm embrace,
You always gave us.
You being there
For Mom and us
Through good and bad times,
No matter what.
We’ll always remember
You Dad because
They’ll never be another one
To replace you in our hearts,
And the love we will always
Have for you

Funeral Poems for a Mother

Mothers are hard to lose, just like fathers and any loved one. But, the loss of a mother affects us differently. A mother and child have some of the strongest bonds in nature but, like all bonds between people, they break eventually.

And yet, a mother’s bond with their child will remain forever in a way, as children never forget their mother.

17. If Roses Grow in Heaven by Dolores M. Garcia

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.

18. She is Gone (He 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.

19. Only One Mother

Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky,
Hundreds of shells on the shore together,
Hundreds of birds that go singing by,
Hundreds of birds in the sunny weather.
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.

20. Richer Than Gold by Strickland Gillilan

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a mother who read to me.

Funeral Poems for a Grandparent

People always say that it’s the last lesson that they teach us, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Losing a grandparent will often be the first close death for a child.

Poetry for a grandparent’s funeral will often describe their life as complete as a life could be after they leave the world and the future to the next generation.

21. Warning by Jenny Joseph

The words describe growing old in a wonderfully outrageous style.
Here’s how it begins.
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals and say we’ve no money for butter.

22. A Wonderful Grandmother, Unknown Author

We had a wonderful grandmother
One who never really grew old
Her smile was made of sunshine
And her heart was solid gold
Her eyes were bright as shining stars
And in her cheeks fair roses you see.
We had a wonderful grandmother,
And that’s the way it will always be.
But take heed, because
She’s still keeping an eye on all of us,
So let’s make sure
She will like what she sees.

23. Grandad by Fiona Bourke

Granddad,
We know you can no longer stay with us,
you fought long and hard to be with us.
We know you now watch over and protect us.
Although we cannot hear your voice or see your smiling face,
We know deep down in our hearts that you have not left us.
Instead every day you surround us with the singing of the birds,
the rising of the sun and the falling of night.
So many broken hearts are left behind,
But in our deepest despair our greatest comfort lies knowing
that you are now at peace with the angels and God.
So as times passes our tears will dry,
our hearts will mend,
but our love for you will never end.

Funeral Poems for a Sibling

As hard as it is to lose parents and grandparents, the grief of losing a sibling may be unmatched. There’s something unnatural about it in a way that isn’t the same for people who are older.

It’s like losing a substantial part of yourself, siblings are comrades and partners in life and whoever they leave behind is left to carry their memory onward.

24. Love Lives On

You went away so suddenly
We did not say goodbye
But brothers can never be parted
Precious memories never die.

25. His Peaceful Grave

Our brother lives with us in memory
Before our eyes he grew weaker every day
Doing all we could to save him
Until God took him away
Never shall his memory fade
Our sweetest love lingers
Forever round his peaceful grave.

26. Lose You by Adriana

Never thought I’d lose you,
But here I am,
Standing alone,
Without you by my side,
We’re sisters for life,
We promised,
But now you’re gone,
I don’t know what to do,
Without you,
I’m going crazy,
I’m trying to hold on,
To keep strong,
But it just doesn’t feel right,
I’m waiting here,
My arms wide open,
Tears running down my face,
Ready for your return,
Even if it takes forever,
My sister…

27. To My Sister… by Allison Chambers Coxsey

I’m blessed to call you sister,
I also call you friend;
You’ve loved me unconditionally,
And stood through thick and thin.

You’ve shared my joys and sorrows,
My laughter and my tears.
You’ve been my inspiration,
As we grew up through the years.

When we were little children
We laughed and played together;
Then growing up you stood by me,
Through good and stormy weather.

There’s something God has given us,
That’s more than family;
He’s placed a love for you, my Sister,
Deep down in the heart of me.

Funeral Poems for a Friend

You can’t pick your family, so a funeral for a friend is always a difficult thing. Funeral poems for friends will highlight what made that person stand out from everyone else in the whole world.

28. Epitaph on a Friend by Robert Burns

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.

29. Bridge to a Future by Robert Langley

Roads that wind round canyon walls
Like corridors round learning halls
Points of light there on the ground
Will draw you with familiar sounds
Gather there the tools you need
Advice is there for you to heed
Spread the word as given you
And do the work you’re supposed to do
Travel where your heart does tell
Let your knowledge serve you well
Things will flow as to their course
You need not fear, or push, or force
All things come as time dictates
Though time has come for what you wait
The door is open once again
A bridge for futures now and then

30. My Best Friend Died by Joyce Grenfell

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.

Dan O’Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.

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