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Bereavement Poems

In this section we have a number of traditional and contemporary funeral poems and readings plus a few that we have found and like. We hope that they provide you with some inspiration and some solace. Please do not hesitate to contact us to recommend any other poems or readings that you have found helpful or comforting to you. Thank you.

 

Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can go 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 once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti

 

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 lightening 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.

Dylan Thomas

 

Book of Ecclesiastes - A Time For Everything

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth?
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

The Bible, King James Version

 

Epitaph Upon A Child That Died

Here she lies, a pretty bud,
Lately made of flesh and blood:
Who as soon as fell fast asleep
As her little eyes did peep.
Give her strewings, but not stir
The earth that lightly covers her.

Robert Herrick

 

My Precious Son

Unendingly I mourn my precious son
Too early yet this earthly home he left,
Perfidious sleep confounded nature's order
To leave his loves perpetually bereft.

Those golden dreams and aspirations,
The seed of yesterday a withered bloom,
Those baubles which are cause to celebrate
In death now mock us gently from his tomb.

How treacherous death does steal on youth's exuberance,
To wreak such havoc from the ecstasy of life,
Where once was only joy and future promise
Tormented hearts endure eternal strife.

Pamela Davies

 

Look for me in Rainbows

Time for me to go now, I won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, way up in the sky.
In the morning sunrise when all the world is new,
Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.

Time for me to leave you, I won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, high up in the sky.
In the evening sunset, when all the world is through,
Just look for me and love me, and I'll be close to you.

It won't be forever, the day will come and then
My loving arms will hold you, when we meet again.

Time for us to part now, we won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, shining in the sky.
Every waking moment, and all your whole life through
Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.

Just wish me to be near you,
And I'll be there with you.

Music and lyrics: Conn Bernard (1990). Vicki Brown

 

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 glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

Mary Frye (1932)

 

Turn Again To Life

If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone,
who keep long vigil by the silent dust.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I perchance may therein comfort you.

Mary Lee Hall

 

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 crépe 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.

WH Auden

 

Epitaph on a Friend

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.

Robert Burns

 

By Herself and Her Friends

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.

Joyce Grenfell

 

So go and run free

So go and run free with the angels
Dance around the golden clouds
For the lord has chosen you to be with him
And we should feel nothing but proud
Although he has taken you from us
And our pain a lifetime will last
Your memory will never escape us
But make us glad for the time we did have
Your face will always be hidden
Deep inside our hearts
Each precious moment you gave us
Shall never, ever depart
So go and run free with the angels
As they sing so tenderly
And please be sure to tell them
To take good care of you for me

Author unknown.

 

For Katrina's Sun Dial

Time is too slow for those that wait,
Too swift for those that fear,
Too long for those that grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice,
But for those who love, time is Eternity.

Henry Van Dyke

 

Inside Our Dreams

Where do people go to when they die?
Somewhere down below or in the sky?
'I can't be sure,' said Grandad, 'but it seems
They simply set up home inside our dreams.'

Jeanne Willis

 

Where do they go to?

Where do they go to, the people who leave?
Are they around us, in the cool evening breeze?
Do they still hear us, and watch us each day?
I'd like you to think of them with us that way.

Where do they go to, when no longer here?
I think that they stay with us, calming our fear
Loving us always, holding our hands
Walking beside us, on grass or on sand.

Where do they go to, well it's my belief
They watch us and help us to cope with our grief
They comfort and stay with us, through each of our days
Guiding us always through life's mortal maze.

KevF - 21st August 2007

 

Happiness

Happiness is silent, or speaks equivocally for friends,
Grief is explicit and her song never ends,
Happiness is like England, and will not state a case,
Grief, like Guilt, rushes in and talks apace.

Stevie Smith

 

Dead Woman

If suddenly you do not exist, if suddenly you are not living, I shall go on living.
I do not dare, I do not dare to write it, if you die. I shall go on living.
Because where a man has no voice, there shall be my voice
Where blacks are beaten, I can not be dead. When my brothers go to jail I shall go with them. When victory, not my victory, but the great victory arrives, even though I am mute I must speak: I shall see it come even though I am blind.
No, forgive me, if you are not living, if you, beloved, my love, if you have died.

Pablo Neruda

 

I will wait for you...

I will wait for you...
Though we never had a chance to say goodbye,
Remember me...
When winter snows are falling through a quiet sky
I'll remember you
When, in our darkest hour,
You held my hand and prayed I wouldn't go,
But a silent voice called out to me;
My time had come, and I had to travel Home...

Since then, I know your life has never been the same,
For I visit you each day:
So many times I've felt your pain:
I've watched you cry:
And I've heard you call my name...

But now, further along life's road I stand
In a timeless world, just beyond your sight,
Waiting for the day when I can take your hand and bring you across
to this land of Golden Light...

Till then, remember me, you understand-and try not to cry.
But if you do:
Let your tears fall
For the happiness and joy we knew,
And for the special love we shared,
For love can never die.

Stephen O'Brien

 

I'm Free

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.

Janice M. Fair-Salters

 

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.

Emily Dickinson

 

To The Glory of Phil

I wonder if there are many slightly mad people. Who would think me so?
Yet I can sit on the floor in my study sorting my papers, saying to myself,
"I am going to succeed in what I do for the glory of Phil.
I will tell no one but hug the knowledge to myself."

And I usually look as I pass the cemetery on my way home from work because, one day,
long after I am dead, I will see him walking down the sloping driveway,
away from the circle of flowers, towards the road.

Geoffrey Davies

 

Angel Moms

We have shared our tears and our sorrow,
We have given encouragement to each other,
Given hope for a brighter tomorrow,
We share the title of grieving mother.

Some of us lost older daughters or sons,
Who we watched grow over the years,
Some have lost their babies before their lives begun,
But no matter the age, we cry the same tears.

We understand each others pain,
The bond we share is very strong,
With each other there is no need to explain,
The path we walk is hard and long.

Our children brought us together,
They didn't want us on this journey alone,
They knew we needed each other,
To survive the pain of them being gone.

So take my hand my friend,
We may stumble and fall along the way,
But we'll get up and try again,
Because together we can make it day by day.

We can give each other hope,
We'll create a place where we belong,
Together we will find ways to cope,
Because we are Angel Moms and together we are strong!

Judi Walker

 

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's 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.

Author unknown.

 

We have a special poems section in our online community at http://www.muchloved.com/community/forum_topics.asp?FID=87

There are also a few poem books recommended in the Funeral Guides section of the Bereavement Reading area.


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