Advice Funeral Planning Poems and Readings For Funerals

Poems and Readings For Funerals

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.

Popular funeral poems and readings

These funeral poems and readings are reflective and comforting.

Remember Me

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.

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.

Margaret Mead

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.

David Harkins

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.

Christina Rossetti

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.

Rhonda Braswell

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.

Richard Fife

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.


Positive funeral poems

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.

Joyce Grenfell


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.


Short funeral poems

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

The Star

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.


Non-religious funeral poems

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.


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 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 [Octopus Legacy Support Hub]( 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 Octopus Legacy. 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.

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