Popular poems to read at a funeral

The reading of a poem during the funeral service is incredibly powerful, as it allows the reader to express emotions, thoughts and memories, in a deep and meaningful way.

We have published this article to share the most popular poems used during funeral services, in a bid to inspire you when making your own choices. Although the reading of a poem can be incredibly personal to the reader, the use of poetry will connect all those in attendance, in remembering the departed and in celebration of their life.

We recommend including the words to any poems used in the funeral service in the Order of Service booklets, which are distrubuted before the service. This allows attendees to follow along with the readings and ensures the poems themselves, become part of the cherished keepsake, which all can reflect back on during the time following the service.

Popular Poetry

Popular Poems

Below you will find a selection of popular poems which are read at funeral services.
Each of these poems hold significant meaning and will be received well by all those in attendance.
To view the poem, simply click on the title below.

  • 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.

    Poem by Henry Scott-Holland

  • Do Not Stand By 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!)

    Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye

  • 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.
    ut crepe bows round the white necks of 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.

    Poem by W. H. Auden

Uplifting Poetry

Uplifting Poems

It is a misunderstand that funeral poems have to be filled with sorrow and sadness.
Uplifting and happier poems are often extremely welcome and can help create a much lighter atmospher.
To view the poem, simply click on the title below.

  • 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.

    Poem by Christina Rossetti

  • Afterglow

    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.

    Poem by Helen Lowrie Marshall

  • My Journey’s Just Begun

    Don't think of me as gone away,
    My journey's just begun.
    Life holds so many facets,
    This earth is but one.

    Just think of me as resting,
    From the sorrows and the tears.
    In a place of warmth and comfort,
    Where there are no days and years.

    Think of how I must be wishing,
    That you could know today.
    How nothing but your sadness,
    Can really go away.

    And think of me as living,
    In the hearts of those I touched.
    For nothing loved is ever lost,
    And I know I was loved so much.

    Poem by Ellen Brenneman

Heartfelt Poetry

Heartfelt Poems

It could be argued that all poetry is heartfelt.
However, we have pulled together a small selection of poems which we feel truly come from the heart.
These poems hold real sentiment and are filled with true emotion.
To view the poem, simply click on the title below.

  • Farewell My Friends

    Farewell My Friends, it was beautiful,
    As long as it lasted, the journey of my life.
    I have no regrets, whatsoever said,
    The pain I’ll leave behind.

    Those dear hearts, who love and care...
    And the strings pulling, At the heart and soul...
    The strong arms, that held me up
    When my own strength, let me down.

    Each morsel that I was, fed with was full of love divine.
    At every turning of my life, I came across
    Good friends, friends who stood by me
    Even when the time raced me by.

    Farewell, farewell, my friends
    I smile and bid you goodbye.
    No, shed no tears, for I need them not,
    All I need is your smile.

    If you feel sad, do think of me
    For that’s what I’ll like.
    When you live in the hearts, of those you love
    Remember then, you never die.

    Poem by Rabindranath Tagore

  • He Is Gone

    You can shed tears that he is gone
    Or you can smile because he has lived

    You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
    Or you can open your eyes and see all that he 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 he 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 he would want: smile, open your eyes, love

    Poem by David Harkins

  • When I Am Dead, My Dearest

    When I am dead, my dearest,
    Sing no sad songs for me;
    Plant thou no roses at my head,
    Nor shady cypress tree:
    With showers and dewdrops wet;
    And if thou wilt, remember,
    And if thou wilt, forget..

    I shall not see the shadows,
    I shall not feel the rain;
    I shall not hear the nightingale
    Sing on, as if in pain;
    And dreaming through the twilight
    That doth not rise nor set,
    Haply I may remember
    And haply may forget.

    Poem by Chirstina Rosetti

  • To Sleep

    O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
    Shutting, with careful
    Fingers and benign,
    Our gloom-pleas‘d eyes,
    Embower‘d from the light,
    Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:

    O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
    In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
    p>Or wait the "Amen" – ere thy poppy throws
    Around my bed its lulling charities.
    Then save me, or the passed day will shine
    Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,–

    Save me from curious Conscience,
    That still lords
    Its strength for darkness,
    Burrowing like a mole;
    Turn the key deftly
    In the oiled wards,
    And seal the hushed
    Casket of my Soul.

    Poem by John Keats

  • Remember

    Remember me when I am gone away,
    Gone far away into 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 plann'd:
    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.

    Poem by Christina Rossetti

Religious Poetry

Religious Poems

Here are a few beautifully fitting poems for more religious services.
To view the poem, simply click on the title below.

  • God’s Garden

    God looked around his garden and found an empty place
    He then looked down upon the Earth and saw your tired face
    He put his arms around you and lifted you to rest
    With the help of his angels they flew you to your heavenly place
    Gods garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best
    He knew you were suffering, he knew you were in pain
    He knew that you would never get well on Earth again
    He saw the road was getting rough and the hills too hard to climb
    He closed your weary eyelids and whispered “Peace be Thine”
    It broke our hearts to lose you but you didn’t go alone
    For part of us went with you the day God called you home.

    Poem by Melissa Shreve

  • In Pastures Green

    In pastures green? Not always; sometimes He
    Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth me
    In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.
    And by still waters? No, not always so;
    Of times the heavy tempests round me blow,
    And o’er my soul the waves and billows go.
    But when the storms beat loudest, and I cry
    Aloud for help, the Master standeth by,
    And whispers to my soul, “Lo, it is I.”
    So where He leads me I can safely go,
    And in the blest hereafter I shall know
    Why in His wisdom He hath led me so.

    Poem by H.H. Barry

  • When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

    When tomorrow starts without me and I am not here to see
    If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me
    I know how much you love me as much as I love you
    And each time you think of me I know you’ll miss me too.

    But when tomorrow starts without me please try to understand
    That Jesus came and called my name and took me by the hand.
    He said my place is ready in heaven far above
    And that I have to leave behind all those I dearly love.

    But as I turned to walk away a tear fell from my eye
    For all my life I’d always thought it wasn’t my time to die.
    I had so much to live for and so much yet to do
    It seems almost impossible that I was leaving you.

    I thought of all the yesterdays the good ones and the bad
    I thought of all the love we shared and all the fun we had.
    If I could have stayed for just a little while
    I’d say goodbye and kiss you and maybe see you smile.

    But then I fully realize that this could never be
    For emptiness and memories would take the place of me.
    And when I thought of worldly things that I’d miss come tomorrow
    I thought of you and when I did my heart was filled with sorrow.

    But when I walked through Heaven’s gate and felt so much at home
    As God looked down and smiled at me from his great golden throne.
    He said This is eternity And all I’ve promised you
    Today your life on earth is past but here it starts anew.

    I promise no tomorrow but today will always last
    And since each day’s the same here there’s no longing for the past.
    So when tomorrow starts without me don’t think we’re far apart,
    For every time you think of me I’m right here in your heart.

    Poem by David M. Romano

why not write your own

Why not write your own?

Although the above poems are all fitting and beautiful as a funeral tribute, why not consider writing your own poem? Take the time to think of all the most wonderful memories, characteristics, and traits about the deceased and incorporate them into a poem dedicated solely to them. This is a true personal form of tribute, as the words will come straight from the heart and will be dedicated to their being, a beautiful way to pay your respects. A poem written for the service, will mean more than words to the family.

Include in the funeral order of service

Funeral Order of Service Booklets

Don't forget to include the funeral poems in the funeral order of service booklets.
Even if not to include the full poem, ensure to reference the name of the poem, the author and who is reading the poem during the service.

Things to consider when choosing a funeral poem blog