Here are a few ideas for poems that could be used at a funeral.
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.
Should your blanket be torn,
May your breezes blow warm,
May your pleasure be what you find.
May the burdens you bear
Like your bounty-be shared
May you leave something good behind
May the sky and the land
Rise to your command
May your senses come like the night.
Live in peace with the Earth
As in death-As in birth
May you prosper, and have a good life.
W H Auden
From The Twelve Songs
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 crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policeman 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 though that love would last for ever : I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now : put out ever 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.
Do not stand by my grave and weep
By Mary Frye, 1932.
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!)
A full version of the text can be found on the web
All Is Well
By Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918), Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral
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.
Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave
By Thomas Hardy
“Ah, are you digging on my grave,
My loved one? – planting rue?”
- “No: yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
‘It cannot hurt her now,’ he said,
‘That I should not be true.’”
“Then who is digging on my grave,
My nearest dearest kin?”
- “Ah, no: they sit and think, ‘What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
Her spirit from Death’s gin.’”
“But someone digs upon my grave?
My enemy? – prodding sly?”
- “Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
And cares not where you lie.
“Then, who is digging on my grave?
Say — since I have not guessed!”
– “O it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog , who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
Have not disturbed your rest?”
“Ah yes! You dig upon my grave…
Why flashed it not to me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among human kind
A dog’s fidelity!”
“Mistress, I dug upon your grave
To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
It was your resting place.”
By Bishop Brent
A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says She is gone.
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large now as when I last saw her. Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone, there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout – There she comes!
That is what dying is. An horizon and just the limit of our sight.
Lift us up O Lord, that we may see further.
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard him 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 found that peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now; He set me free.
By Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.
Since then ‘t is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity
Come To Me
God saw you getting tired
and a cure was not to be
so he put his arms around you
“Come to Me”
With tearful eyes we watch you
and saw you pass away
and 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 us
he only takes the best
by Dawn Macgregor-Bromfield, 1999
I know you love me
But I’ve gone where
Rose petals are my pillow.
I know you cared for me as I got weak
I’ve gone where I can run again.
I know you hoped my pain would ease
So I’ve gone where I can smile again.
As I wave goodbye for the last time…
I leave with you
My words of encouragement…
I leave with you
Smile with me…
AS I go home to rest,
As I look up to the skies above,
The stars stretch endlessly–
But somehow all those rays of light
Seem dimmer now to me.
As I watch the morning sun appear,
The shadows still don’t fade-
As if the brightest light of all
Was somehow swept away.
Though I see the branches swaying,
And watch their dancing leaves–
The echoes carried on the wind
Don’t sound the same to me.
As I listen to the morning birds
Sing softly from afar–
It seems to be a mournful tune
That echoes in my heart.
Another day has come again,
As time moves surely on–
But nothing now seems quite the same,
To know that he is gone.
The days and weeks and months ahead
Will never be the same–
Because a treasure beyond words
Can never be replaced.
The loss cannot be measured now,
The void cannot be filled–
And though someday the grief may fade,
His mark will live on still.
For even with my heavy heart,
I know that I’ve been blessed
To have been one who’s life he touched
With warmth so infinite.
I know, my love,
The time has come
To finally let you go.
I know you’re gone,
I must move on
To walk this lonely road.
And yet it seems
You’re still with me
Each movement that I make -
A guiding light,
Still burning bright
With each step that I take.
I can’t forget,
I won’t regret
The moments that we shared.
Your gentle face,
The loving ways
That showed how much you cared.
Right from the start,
You touched my heart,
You opened up my eyes.
You helped me see
What I could be,
That I could reach the skies.
Now I still find
You’re on my mind,
Though you’re so far away.
I know it’s wrong,
I can’t hold on,
It’s time to find my way -
Without your love
To lift me up,
Sometimes it’s hard to face.
But in my dreams
You’re still with me,
A part I can’t erase.
With each new day,
It doesn’t fade,
It’s lonely with you gone.
Keep haunting me,
And yet I must move on.
Perhaps in time
Someday I’ll find
It doesn’t hurt so much.
But I know now
Without a doubt,
I won’t forget your love.
As We Look Back
As we look back over time
We find ourselves wondering …..
Did we remember to thank you enough
For all you have done for us?
For all the times you were by our sides
To help and support us …..
To celebrate our successes
To understand our problems
And accept our defeats?
Or for teaching us by your example,
The value of hard work, good judgement,
Courage and integrity?
We wonder if we ever thanked you
For the sacrifices you made.
To let us have the very best?
And for the simple things
Like laughter, smiles and times we shared?
If we have forgotten to show our
Gratitude enough for all the things you did,
We’re thanking you now.
And we are hoping you knew all along,
How much you meant to us.
By Collin Raye
If you get there before I do, don’t give up on me.
I’ll meet you when my chores are through,
I don’t know how long I’ll be.
I’m not going to let you down, just you wait and see.
So between now and then, till I see you again
I’ll be loving you , love me.
Footprints In The Sand
By Mary Stevenson
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
‘You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?’
The Lord replied, ‘The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.’
26 November 2010