The most important things to consider when choosing poems or readings for a funeral are:
How do you want people to feel? There's more poetry out there than you can shake a stick at, but how they make you feel really varies - you can make people feel nostalgic, reflective, comforted, or make them laugh or feel uplifted.
We’ll share some suggestions, as well as some other sources of inspiration, but if you’re struggling, you can always ask your funeral director to see if they have any good recommendations.
These funeral poems and readings are reflective and comforting.
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.
Don't Cry for Me
Don't cry for me now I have died, for I'm still here I'm by your side,
My body's gone but my soul is here, please don't shed another tear,
I am still here I'm all around, only my body lies in the ground.
I am the snowflake that kisses your nose,
I am the frost, that nips your toes.
I am the sun, bringing you light,
I am the star, shining so bright.
I am the rain, refreshing the earth,
I am the laughter, I am the mirth.
I am the bird, up in the sky,
I am the cloud, that's drifting by.
I am the thoughts, inside your head,
While I'm still there, I can't be dead.
She Is Gone (He 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.
Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love 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.
How Did They Live?
Not, how did they die, but how did they live?
Not, what did they gain, but what did they give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a person as a person, regardless of birth.
Not, what was their church, nor what was their creed?
But had they befriended those really in need?
Were they ever ready, with a word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not, what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when they passed away?
Come with me
God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
So He put His arms around you
And whispered ‘Come with Me.’
With tearful eyes
We watched you suffer
And saw you fade away,
Although we loved you dearly
We could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands at rest,
God broke our hearts to prove
He only takes the best.
It’s lonesome here without you,
We miss you more each day,
Life doesn’t seem the same
Since you’ve gone away.
When days are sad and lonely
And everything goes wrong,
We seem to hear you whisper
‘Cheer up and carry on.’
Each time we see your picture,
You seem to smile and say
‘Don’t cry, I’m in God’s keeping
We’ll meet again someday.’
You never said ‘I’m leaving’,
You never said goodbye,
You were gone before we knew it,
And only God knew why.
A million times we needed you,
A million times we cried,
If love alone could have saved you,
You never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we love you still ,
In our hearts you hold a place,
That no one could ever fill.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn’t go alone,
For part of us went with you,
The day God took you home.
Memory Can Tell Us Only What We Were
Memory can tell us only what we were,
In company with those we loved;
It cannot help us find out what each of us,
Alone, must now become.
Yet, no person is really alone;
Those who live no more still echo
Within our thoughts and words,
And what they did has become
Woven into what we are.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Don’t think of her/him as gone away
Her/His journey’s just begun,
Life holds so many facets
This earth is only one.
Just think of her/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 she/he must be wishing
That we could know today
How nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away.
And think of her/him as living
In the hearts of those she/he touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And she/he was loved so much.
These funeral poems are uplifting.
Death (If I Should Go)
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.
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.
Helen Lowrie Marshall
All Is Well
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Henry Scott Holland
Pardon Me for Not Getting Up
Oh dear, if you're reading this right now,
I must have given up the ghost.
I hope you can forgive me for being
Such a stiff and unwelcoming host.
Just talk amongst yourself my friends,
And share a toast or two.
For I am sure you will remember well
How I loved to drink with you.
Don't worry about mourning me,
I was never easy to offend.
Feel free to share a story at my expense
And we'll have a good laugh at the end.
These poems are short and sweet.
If I Should Go Tomorrow
If I should go tomorrow
It would never be goodbye,
For I have left my heart with you,
So don't you ever cry.
The love that's deep within me,
Shall reach you from the stars,
You'll feel it from the heavens,
And it will heal the scars.
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 cheek 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.
Amelia Josephine Burr
A light went out on Earth for me
The day we said goodbye
And on that day a star was born,
The brightest in the sky
Reaching through the darkness
With its rays of purest white
Lighting up the Heavens
As it once lit up my life
With beams of love to heal
The broken heart you left behind
Where always in my memory
Your lovely star will shine
Because I Love You So
Time will not dim the face I love,
The voice I heard each day,
The many things you did for me,
In your own special way.
All my life I’ll miss you,
As the years come and go,
But in my heart I’ll keep you,
Because I love you so.
These funeral poems are good if the person that's died wasn’t particularly religious.
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 travelled 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'.
One At Rest
Think of me as one at rest,
for me you should not weep
I have no pain no troubled thoughts
for I am just asleep
The living thinking me that was,
is now forever still
And life goes on without me now,
as time forever will.
If your heart is heavy now
because I've gone away
Dwell not long upon it friend
For none of us can stay
Those of you who liked me,
I sincerely thank you all
And those of you who loved me,
I thank you most of all.
And in my fleeting lifespan,
as time went rushing by
I found some time to hesitate,
to laugh, to love, to cry
Matters it now if time began
If time will ever cease?
I was here, I used it all,
and now I am at peace.
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 airplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message "He is Dead",
Put Crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday-rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk , my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good
W. H. Auden
If you haven’t found a funeral poem or reading that’s quite right for your loved one don’t panic. Why not ask friends and family members if there are any that stand out to them, or remind them of the person you’ve lost? If you're a member of a [Guardian Angel Support Hub](https://guardianangel.network/bereavement) you can reach out to your community easily and get a quick reply, so why not try posting a request for funeral poems or readings there.
Remember it doesn’t need to be a funeral-themed poem or reading, it could be one they loved from their day-to-day life.
It’s only when you go through this process that you realise how much easier it would be if we had these conversations ahead of time. Remember it’s never too early to share your funeral wishes, and start putting together an Estate Plan.
We know, because we’ve been there too - that’s why Sam started Guardian Angel. After his mum died in 2016 he wanted to take away some of the unnecessary stresses that come with losing a loved one to make a tough time that little bit easier.
We're here to help answer your questions and make this process easier for you.