You can read any poem at a funeral. You may want to take inspiration from some of the examples below, or you may even like to write one yourself.
It can be downbeat, it can be cheery. It can be solemn, it can be funny. The choice is completely yours and your family's.
There's also no set length for a funeral poem. Some people prefer short funeral poems, some people prefer something a little longer. The only thing to consider is how long the funeral service is. For example, if you're having a funeral which only lasts 20 minutes, you may not want to go on too long.
But have a chat with the organiser of the funeral and see what they think. You'll likely be able to work something out together.
In tough, sad times when saying goodbye, it's easy to find comfort in words that understand our pain.
Two of the most popular funeral poems in the UK that we've picked out below do exactly that, they are like gentle hugs for hurting hearts, helping us connect with our emotions and feelings, and making us feel that little bit better.
These poems remind us that love doesn't go away, even when someone we care about is not with us anymore.
Christina Rossetti's poem is an inspirational, uplifting piece about bidding farewell to a loved one and forging ahead.
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.
From the Old Testament, psalm 23 is one of the most well known psalms and is a message of trusting God.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Crematorium Assistant at Aberystwyth Crematorium
"Having been involved at Aberystwyth Crematorium since its opening in 1994, I have heard a great many traditional and contemporary poems being recited during services. Funeral poems can have an incredible ability to encapsulate the essence of a person’s life and offer solace and understanding at the most difficult time. The words provide a comfortable shoulder to lean on and can help with the mourning process by turning it into a poignant celebration of the individual’s life journey."
In just a few lines, these two beautiful, yet short funeral poems can provide solace and comfort for every single person attending the funeral.
Though they are short, they are mighty in their own way. H.W Longfellow's last line from his longer poem Resignation, in particular, is a real punch to the heart.
While Karen White's poem ends in an equally beautiful way, expressing words that many of us can resonate with and relate to at that most difficult of time.
A snippet from HW Longfellow's longer poem, Resignation.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapours;
Amid these earthly damps
What seem to us but sad, funeral tapers
May be heaven's distant lamps
A poem by Karen White from her book Pieces of the Heart.
If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane,
I’d walk right up to heaven
And bring you home again.
Some funeral poems can make us weep, and for many, that's what they want from a funeral poem.
But for others, something more uplifting, upbeat or even funny is more to their taste. So below are two examples of wonderfully, uplifting funeral poems that might resonate with your heart.
The first by the legendary Robert Burns eulogises his great friend, before ending the poem with two beautifully uplifting lines. While the equally legendary Robert Louis Stevenson's poem offers a truly uplifting, bright perspective on the end of life.
Robert Burns's poem written about his friend William Muir.
An honest man here lies at rest,
As e’er God with His image blest:
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.
The great Robert Louis Stevenson's poem about end of life peace.
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.
Often, the most memorable poems from a funeral are the ones that make you smile and make you laugh.
That's why funny funeral poems are so great and so effective, and why so many more people are leaning towards having something slightly jovial at their funeral.
Especially for those looking to have a more celebratory, alternative funeral, or even a memorial service after a direct cremation, a funny funeral poem in that instance, is the perfect accompaniment.
A poem written by the comedian Sean Hughes.
I want to be cremated
I know how boring funerals can be
I want people to gather
meet new people
have a laugh, a dance, meet a loved one.
A traditional Japanese death poem written by Moriya Sen’an.
Bury me when I die
beneath a wine barrel
in a tavern.
the cask will leak.
Many of the most popular funeral poems are religious of sort, as we've discovered in this list so far.
It may be just a subtle not to heaven, or to God. It could be something a Bible reading like Psalm 23.
But there are plenty of funeral poems out there of a non religious nature, with no nod to any religious deity or concept. These two are our favourites - maybe they will become yours too.
Margaret Mead's poem, often used as a eulogy.
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.
Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem written about his impending death.
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.
Some of the poets from throughout history have penned funeral poems for their Dad or a funeral eulogy for their Dad.
Below two of our favourites. The first by Kelly Roper is a very humorous, modern take on the 21st century father, which won't be perfect for every father, but will be for some.
While Helen Lowrie Marshall's poem is written from the father's perspective, about the afterglow that their life leaves once they are here no more.
Kelly Roper's funny poem will encapsulate many a father's personality and self.
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.
Helen Lowrie Marshall's poem celebrates the presence of a loved one after they have departed.
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.
Funeral poems for Mums are as equally as common as funeral poems for Dads, and some of them can hit equally as hard.
We've picked two below which are very different both in length and style. David Harkins' poem is just a short four-liner which meanders its way to the heart centre very quickly.
While Michael Ashby's longer poem, takes a little bit of care and time to tell its story, and encapsulates the British mother in way only a poem about English breakfast tea can.
David Harkins' short funeral poem is perfect for a mother, and was actually read at the funeral of the Queen Mother
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
For mother's who loved team, this beautiful, ubeat poem by Michael Ashby is perfect
Death is too negative for me
So I'll be popping off for a long cup of tea
Do splash out on two bags in the pot
And for my god's sake keep the water hot
Please pick the biggest mug you can find
Size really does matter at this time
I'll pass on the lapsang with that souchong
And that stuff with bergamot
And stick with my favourite friend
You know the English breakfast blend
Breakfast! thanks for reminding me
There's just time before I fail
To stand on ceremony
Two rashers of best back, Should keep me
Smelling sweet up the smokestack
So, mother, put the kettle on for me
It's time, mother, for my long cup of tea
Looking to talk through your options? If you have questions or would like some in-person support we’re just a call away.Call now on 01543 211997
Want some time to digest the details? You can download a PDF of our arranging a funeral guide online or get a printed copy.Get our guide
Looking for more? Below are a few further articles that you may be interested in.
Many of us know what music we want to have at our funerals. But if you or your loved ones are stuck for ideas, this article may help.Funeral music ideas
You don't have to be religious to enjoy a hymn. Hymns have a special place in many of our hearts and can fit a funeral perfectly.Funeral hymn ideas
Most funerals will have some space for readings and eulogies dotted throughout. Here are some examples that you can take inspiration from.Funeral readings
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