Funeral Poems

Funeral Poems

Funeral readings are a good way of involving family or friends in the funeral service.  There are a plethora of funeral poems and verses available and I will include a few for people to use.  Unfortunately some funeral poems have become somewhat hackneyed, so it is always refreshing to hear something new, or original, that a person has written specially for the occasion. Therefore, you won’t see a “well worn” funeral poem in the list below!


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.


I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.


I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick the flowers in other peoples' garden

And learn to spit.


You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickles for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.


But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.


But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph



I loved my friend.

He went away from me.

There’s nothing more to say.

The poem ends,

Soft as it began –

I loved my friend.  

Langston Hughes


A Song of the 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.


I have kissed young Love on the lips, I have

heard his song to the end.

I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal

hand of a friend.

I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort

of work done well.

I have longed for death in the darkness and risen

alive out of hell.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.


I gave a share of my soul to the world where

my course is run.

I know that another shall finish the task I must

leave undone.

I know that no flower, no flint was in vain on

the path I trod.

As one looks on a face through a window,

through life I have looked on God.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

Amelia Josephine Burr



Remember me when I am gone away.

Gone far away in 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 once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti

I'll be there

I’ve come to the end of life’s busy road

I’ve put down the burden, I’ve cast off my load.


My spirit is free, my soul has wings

I’ll pour from the throat of a bird that sings.


I’ll ride on the wind, I’ll float on the clouds

I’ll twinkle with stars in night’s velvet shroud.


I’ll shine with the sun as it circles the earth

I’ll be there at dawn when the new day gives birth.


I’ll be with the snow fluttering down

Silently, softly, nature’s crown.


I’ll be in the rain as it falls on the earth

Cleansing, refreshing, priceless worth.


I’ll ride on the ether, silent and free

A world of my own, please don’t cry for me.  

Maude Hurford, Guernsey Poet

Stop all the Clocks, Cut off the Telephone

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 the crepe bows around the white necks of

The public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.


He was my North, my South, my East and


My working week and my Sunday rest.

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last for ever:   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

The North Ship

I saw three ships go sailing by,

Over the sea, the lifting sea,

And the wind rose in the morning sky,

And one was rigged for a long journey.


The first ship turned towards the west,

Over the sea, the running sea,

And by the wind was all possessed

And carried to a rich country.


The second turned towards the east,

Over the sea, the quaking sea,

And the wind hunted it like a beast

To anchor in captivity.


The third ship drove towards the north,

Over the sea, the darkening sea,

But no breath of wind came forth,

And the decks shone frostily.


The northern sky rose high and black

Over the proud unfruitful sea,

East and west the ships came back

Happily or unhappily:


But the third went wide and far

Into an unforgiving sea

Under a fire-spilling star,

And it was rigged for a long journey.  

Philip Larkin Legend


Crossing the Bar

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 sea

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.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Indian Prayer

When I am dead

Cry for me a little

Think of me sometimes

But not too much.

Think of me now and again

As I was in life

At some moments it’s pleasant to recall

But not for long.;

Leave me in peace

And I shall leave you in peace

And while you live

Let your thoughts be with the living.

Anonymous Traditional



Farewell to Thee!  But not farewell

To All my fondest thoughts of Thee;

Within my heart they still shall dwell

And they shall cheer and comfort me.


Life seems more sweet that Thou didst live

And men more true that Thou wert one;

Nothing is lost that Thou didst give,

Nothing destroyed that Thou hast done.  

Anne Bronte


Let me not see old age

Let me not see old age:   Let me not hear

The proffered help, the mumbled sympathy,

The well-meant tactful sophistries that mock

Pathetic husks who once were strong and free,

And in youth’s fickle triumph laughed and sang,

Loved, and were foolish; and at the close have seen

The fruits of folly garnered, and that love,

Tamed and encaged, stale into grey routine.

Let me not see old age; I am content

With my few crowded years; laughter and strength

And song have lit the beacon of my life.

Let me not see it fade, but when the long

September shadows steal across the square,

Grant me this wish; they may not find me there.  

D R Geraint Jones