Best Poems for Funerals

Choosing the best poems for funerals is difficult, especially at a time of grieving. To help in the search for the best funeral poems, I’ve chosen 21 short funeral poems for you to consider in honoring your loved one’s passing.

No. 1 funeral poem: Success

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has left the world better than he found it;
Who has looked for the best in others and given the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory is a benediction.
Robert Louis Stevenson or Bessie Stanley

No. 2 funeral poem: What is Dying?

What is dying? I am standing on the sea shore. A ship sails and spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at last she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, “She is gone”, Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all; She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination. The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at he moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”, there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take a glad shout “There she comes”, And that is dying.
Bishop Brent, 1862-1926

No. 3 funeral poem: If I Should Die and Leave You Here Awhile

If I should die and leave you here awhile, Be not like others, sore undone, who keep Long vigils by the silent dust, and weep. For my sake turn again to life and smile, Nerving thy heart and trembling hands to do Something to comfort weaker hearts than thine. Complete those dear unfinished tasks of mine And I perchance may therein comfort you.
Attrib. A Price Hughes

No. 4 funeral poem: Death is…

Death is not the extinguishing of the light, but the putting out of the lamp, because Dawn has come.
Rabindranath Tagore
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.
from More Fruits of Solitude by William Penn

No. 5 funeral poem: Hope

I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
That my slumber shall not be broken;
And that though I be all-forgetting,
Yet shall I not be forgotten,
But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds Of those I loved.
Samuel Butler, 1835-1902

No. 6 funeral poem: Death is Nothing at All

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, 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 have 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 a shadow on it,
Life means all that it ever meant.
It was the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
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 1847-1918 Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral

No. 7 funeral poem: 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 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, 1830-1894

No. 8 funeral poem: 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, 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 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

No. 9 funeral poem: Farewell

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 Thou wert one; Nothing is lost that Thou didst give, Nothing destroyed that Thou hast done.
Anne Bronte 1820-1849

No. 10 funeral poem: Miss Me, But 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 we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go!
For this a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone;
It’s all a part of the master’s plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me, but let me go.
Robyn Rancman

No. 11 funeral poem: His Journey’s Just Begun

Don’t think of him as gone away
his journey’s just begun,
life holds so many facets
this earth is only one.
Just think of 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 he must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.
And think of him as living
in the hearts of those he touched…
for nothing loved is ever lost
and he was loved so much.
E. Brenneman

No. 12 funeral poem: Life Goes On

If I should go before the rest of you Break not a flower Nor inscribe a stone Nor when I am 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, 1910-1979

No. 13 funeral poem: Death Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think’st thou dost over throw Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure – then, from thee much more must flow; And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones and soul’s delivery. Thou’rt slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men, And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell; And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well, And better than thy stroke. Why swell’st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more. Death thou shalt die.
John Donne, 1572-1631

No. 14 funeral poem: But Not Forgotten

I think no matter where you stray, That I shall go with you a way. Though you may wander sweeter lands, You will not forget my hands, Nor yet the way I held my head Nor the tremulous things I said. You will still see me, small and white And smiling, in the secret night, And feel my arms about you when The day comes fluttering back again. I think, no matter where you be, You’ll hold me in your memory And keep my image there without me, By telling later loves about me.
Dorothy Parker

Funeral Poems – Untitled by Anonymous Authors

No. 15 funeral poem: 

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.

No. 16 funeral poem: 

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.

No. 17 funeral poem: 

The sadness of the present days is locked and set in time, and moving to the future is a slow and painful climb.
But all the feelings that are now so vivid and so real can’t hold their fresh intensity as time begins to heal.
No wound so deep will ever go entirely away yet every hurt becomes a little less from day to day.
Nothing can erase the painful imprints on your mind but there are softer memories that time will let you find.
Though your heart won’t let the sadness simply slide away the echoes will diminish even though the memories stay

No. 18 funeral poem: 

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a 1,000 winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sun on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled light
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there; I did not die.
Anon, 20th century

No. 19 funeral poem:

Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with 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 he passed away?

No. 20 funeral poem:

Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but live in thankfulness that he was’
Hebrew proverb

No. 21 funeral poem:

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.
Indian Prayer