Funeral Poems and Readings

Funeral poetry words about poetry

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful – Rita Dove

By carefully selecting a poem, you can add depth and meaning to a funeral ceremony. Poetry can bring humour, romance, spirituality, and a sense of occasion to the service, evoking feelings and emotions and can be an incredible source of comfort and hope. A poem can help us get in touch.

 The big question is, how do you select poems?

  1. Think about your loved one. 
  2. Explore how your loved one makes you feel 
  3. Or what you would like to say to them. 
  4. Think about their personality and character. 

Your thoughts about these things will guide you. They may even inspire you to write your own poem. 

Or you may like to look here, a vast selection of funeral poems to help you. Some of them, reflective, others personal, a lot of them hopeful, and nearly all of them heartening. 

Do I have to use a poem?

The answer to this question is, you don’t have to do anything especially. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel appropriate to use any poetry or verse at all, and that is fine. Music can be a powerful alternative or indeed a series of personal memories and anecdotes. For musical ideas look here.

The Funeral Guide is another excellent resource for information and ideas too and it offers lots of practical advice.

My favourite funeral poem.

I love poetry, for all sorts of reasons, funeral poems particularly. They tend to get beneath the surface of life, and they can very often express feelings we find difficult to articulate. They bring a substantive dimension to the celebration of someone’s life. 

For example, this poem by Jan Richardson called ‘Brokenhearted,’ reminds me of someone remarkably close to me. It connects with my experience of them and resonates with a lot of my family and friends.

Funeral poetry words about poetry

Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.

Let us promise
we will not
tell ourselves
time will heal
the wound,
when every day
our waking
opens it anew.

Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
so broken
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this–

as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it,

as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
for breaking
is to love still,

as if it trusts
that its own
persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
we cannot
begin to fathom
but will save us

There is no remedy for love but to love more – Henry David Thoreau

This hits the spot for me.

The Italian poet Salvatore Quasimodo puts it plainly, “Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognises as his own.” 

Of course, the list of funeral poems above will not be exhaustive and I will be very happy to help you select yours – just get in touch.

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