So you are planning the service and you are wondering what funeral poems readings or verses to use?
The most memorable and touching funerals I have ever attended are the ones where family and friends have written their own funeral poems, songs and eulogies instead of using the same ones that everyone else uses.
You could write your own poem, describing the characteristics or cherished memories that you have of your loved one. Children need to express their feelings too, so you could make it a family project. A rhyming poem is not compulsory.
It’s also nice to remember a person by playing their favourite piece of music or reading a poem they liked, even if it doesn’t go along with the same theme as the rest of the service.
I have listed some of the more popular funeral poems, readings and verses that can be heard during a funeral service. Instead of just picking out something, I recommend you use this page to get you inspired to come up with some ideas of your own.
Some of the poems here are suitable for memorials, some are better at funerals and some can be read at either or both ceremonies.
Funeral Poems about Flying Free or Letting Go
The White Chariot
During your journey on your final flight home.
White wings will carry you and you will be flown.
To the pearly gates of Heaven, where they will usher you in.
To the feet of your Lord, your Saviour, and your friend.
He will hold you in his arms and the angels will sing.
As another one of His children is delivered by white wings.
Author: Julie Johnson
A Hopi Prayer
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.
Author: Mary E. Frye
The Final Flight
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I’ve found that peace at the end of the day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things too I will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My Life’s been full, I savoured much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’ touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.
To Those Whom I Love;
And To Those Who Love Me
When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do
You must not tie yourself to me with tears
Be happy that I have had so many years
I gave you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness
I thankyou for the love each have shown
But now it is time I travelled on alone
So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust
It is only for a while that we must part
So bless the memories in your heart
I will not be far away, for life goes on
So if you need me, call and I will come
Though you cannot see or touch me, I will be near
And if you listen with your heart, you will hear
All of my love around you soft and clear
Then, when you must come this way alone
I will greet you with a smile and a Welcome Home
-Author: Mary Alice Ramish-
Sent in by Kelly in memory of Ben.
Miss Me But 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 we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go.
For this journey that we all must take
And each must go alone;
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me, but let me go.
Author: Christina Rossetti
-In Memory of Howard Piper (1955-2011) without whom Heavenly Doves would not exist-
More Funeral Poems
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.
Author: Robert Frost
Serene and beautiful and very wise,
Most erudite in curious Grecian lore,
You lay and read your learned books, and bore
A weight of unshed tears and silent sighs.
The song within your heart could never rise
Until love bade it spread its wings and soar.
Nor could you look on Beauty’s face before
A poet’s burning mouth had touched your eyes.
Love is made out of ecstasy and wonder;
Love is a poignant and accustomed pain.
It is a burst of Heaven-shaking thunder;
It is a linnet’s fluting after rain.
Love’s voice is through your song;
above and under
And in each note to echo and remain
A red rose is His Sacred Heart,
a white rose is His face,
And His breath has turned the barren
world to a rich and flowery place.
He is the Rose of Sharon,
His gardener am I,
And I shall drink His fragrance
in Heaven when I die.
Author: Joyce Kilmer
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Author: Robert Frost
Not In Vain
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Author: Emily Dickinson
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
With the help of his angels they flew you to your heavenly place
Gods garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best
He knew 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 too hard to climb
He closed your weary eyelids and whispered “Peace be Thine”
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
-In memory of Danilo with love from Barbara-
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more, day by day,
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that I once had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
by Christina Georgina Rossetti
A Child of Mine
I’ll lend you for a little while
A child of mine, God said
For you to love the while she lives
And mourn for when she’s dead
It may be six or seven years,
Or forty-two or three
But will you, till I call her back
Take care of her for me?
She’ll bring her charms to gladden you
And – should her stay be brief,
You’ll have her lovely memories
As a solace for your grief
I cannot promise she will stay
For all from earth returns
But there are lessons taught below
I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the whole world over
In my search for teachers true
And from all beings that crowd life’s land
I have chosen you
Now, will you give her all your love
Nor think the labor vain.
Nor hate me when I come to take
This lent child back again
I fancied that I heard you say
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joys Thy child will bring
The risk of grief we’ll run
We will shelter her with tenderness
We’ll love her while we may –
And for the happiness we have now know
Forever grateful stay.”
But should the angels come for her
Much sooner than we’d planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes
And try to understand
Thanks to Jason for contributing this poem
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop to build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And,which is more-you’ll be a Man, my son!
by Rudyard Kipling
Should you go First
Should you go first and I remain
to walk the road alone
I’ll live in memory’s garden, dear
with happy days we’ve known
in Spring I’ll wait for roses red,
when fades the lilacs blue,
in early fall, when brown leaves call
I’ll catch a glimpse of you
Should you go first, and I remain
for battles to be fought,
each thing you’ve touched along the way
will be a hallowed spot
I’ll hear your voice;
I’ll see your smile,
though blindly I may grope
the memory of your helping hand
will buoy me on with hope
Should you go first and I remain
to finish with the scroll,
no length’ning shadows ahall creep in
to make this life seem droll
We’ve known so much of happiness
we’ve had our cup of joy,
and memory is one gift of God
that death cannot destroy
Should you go first and I remain,
one thing I’d have you do;
walk slowly down that long, lone path,
for soon I’ll follow you
I’ll want to know each step you take
that I may walk the same,
for some day down that lonely road
you’ll hear me call your name
Author: A.K. Rowswell
-Thanks to Gladys for contributing this poem. It’s dedicated to the memory of her sister, Angela Moylett-
The Broken Chain
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.
—Ron Tranmer —
It’s a Time of Heartfelt Sadness
It’s a time of heartfelt sadness
When a loved one passes on
But know your loved one lives in joy
And peace where he (or she) has gone
Oh how much he will be missed
That’s where the sadness lies
But others who have missed him
now rejoice in Heaven’s skies
We know one day we’ll join him
Because our time on earth will flee
We’ll then live with him forever
Throughout all eternity
–By Ron Tranmer —
Death Is Nothing At All
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
that we still are
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
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 effort
without the trace of a shadow in 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
somewhere very near
just around the corner
All is well
Henry Scott Holland
(1847-1918) Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral
Don’t weep at my grave,
For I am not there,
I’ve a date with a butterfly
to dance in the air.
I’ll be singing in the sunshine,
Wild and free,
Playing tag with the wind,
Please dont weep for me.
How can i live
What am i to do
Now apart of my heart,
Is buried with you?
-Sent in by Hannah McCallum (Age 11)in Memory of her Grandmother-
Warm Summer Sun by Mark Twain
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.
-Thanks to Molly for suggesting this poem-
Our lives go on without you
But nothing is the same
We have to hide our heartache
When someone speaks your name
Sad are the hearts that love you
Silent are the tears that fall
Living without you is the hardest part of all
You did so many things for us
Your heart was so kind and true
And when we needed someone
We could always count on you
The special years will not return
When we are all together
But with the love in our hearts
You walk with us forever
A Silent Tear By Gaynor Llewellyn
Just close your eyes and you will see
All the memories that you have of me
Just sit and relax and you will find
I’m really still there inside your mind
Don’t cry for me now I’m gone
For I am in the land of song
There is no pain, there is no fear
So dry away that silent tear
Don’t think of me in the dark and cold
For here I am, no longer old
I’m in that place that’s filled with love
Known to you all, as “UP ABOVE”
-Thanks to Starla for bringing this poem to our attention-
I’d like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an after glow
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
Memories in the Heart
Feel no guilt in laughter, she knows how much you care
Feel no sorrow in a smile that she’s not here to share
You cannot grieve forever, she would not want you to
She’d hope that you can 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 memories surround you.
A word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day
That brings her back as clearly as though she were still here
And fills you with the feelings that she is always near
For if you keep these moments, you will never be apart
And she will live forever locked safe within your heart
Funeral Poems for babies or children
Little Angels (1)- Author Unknown
When God calls little children to dwell with Him above,
We mortals sometime question the wisdom of His love.
For no heartache compares with the death of one small child
Who does so much to make our world, seem wonderful and mild
Perhaps God tires of calling the aged to his fold,
So He picks a rosebud, before it can grow old.
God knows how much we need them, and so He takes but few
To make the land of Heaven more beautiful to view.
Believing this is difficult still somehow we must try,
The saddest word mankind knows will always be “Goodbye.”
So when a little child departs, we who are left behind
Must realize God loves children, Angels are hard to find.
Little Angels (2)- Author Unknown
Change the name, age and gender for your own situation
God sent an angel to the earth…
The sweetest angel too
and for such a tiny little thing,
she had so much to do.
She knew she did not have
much time upon this earth to stay,
so she did not waste a second;
she got started right away.
Her eyes were bright and sparkly,
she took in every turn.
She did not miss a single thing,
because Angel came to learn!
God sent her here to touch the
hearts of those he could not reach…
She taught them courage, strength and faith,
because Angel came to teach.
Her tiny little body
was so full of God above,
you felt it when you held her,
because Kaitlyn came to love.
In eleven short months she managed
what many never will.
When she went home to Jesus,
her purpose was fulfilled.
She learned and taught, loved and played,
she learned her lessons well.
I know he was so proud of her
when she went home to dwell.
But when I miss her OH-SO-MUCH,
I can almost hear him say,
please understand, her work was done…
Kaitlyn did not come to stay.
-Thanks to Michelle and Samantha for finding these poems-
Wanted: Beautiful Poems suitable at funerals
Have you seen or heard a memorable poem at a funeral recently?
Have you written some original poetry of your own that would be suitable at a funeral or memorial?
Are you looking for a particular poem but you can only remember a bit of it?
Send in your poems and questions here for the Heavenly Doves internet community!