Funeral Chaplain

A collection of resources for funerals and memorial services

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Home > Other Readings > Poetry

Poetry

A poem should be chosen with care--both to reflect the religious tradition of the deceased (and family), but also to reflect the life of the individual.  A well-chosen poem can help the congregation begin to work through their grief, or can help bring a smile as memories come to mind.  Many of these poems are written from a particular perspective--often as a letter from the deceased to the bereaved. 



Afterglow

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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.

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All I have is a voice

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All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street

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Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

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Come, night. Come, Romeo

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Come, night. Come, Romeo. Come, thou day in night,
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow upon a raven’s back.
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Crossing the Bar

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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,

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Death is Nothing at All

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Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other

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Dirge without Music

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I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go but I am not resigned.

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Do Not Go Gently Into that Good Night

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Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

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Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

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For Him

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Rows and rows of troubled men,
all locked up tight because of sin.
You seldom see a smile or grin,
on anyone around.

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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.

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Gates of Prayer

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As long as we live, they too will live;
For they are now a part of us: As we remember them!
At the rising sun and at its going down we remember them.

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God's Garden

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God looked around his garden
And He found an empty place.
And then He looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired face.

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Home is the Sailor

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Home is the sailor, home from sea:
Her far-borne canvas furled
The ship pours shining on the quay
The plunder of the world.

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Memories in the Heart

Feel no guilt in laughter, she knows how much you care
Feel no sorrow in a smile that she’s not here to share
You cannot grieve forever, she would not want you to

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Memory Can Only Tell Us What We Were

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Memory can tell us only what we were,
In company with those we loved;
It cannot help us find out what each of us,

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Miss Me, but Let Me Go

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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 too long,

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Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower;

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Ode to Immortality, Stanza IX

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!

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On Death

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You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

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