25 Moving Poems To Read at a Funeral December 23, 2020

Poems To Read at a Funeral

Most funerals include a time during the service for family and friends to speak, perform readings, play music, or sing songs to celebrate and honor a deceased loved one. If you plan on speaking, you might choose this time to share a poem.

Poems are great to read at funerals because they’re usually shorter but packed with emotion and powerful imagery. Whether you write your own poem or read someone else’s, poems can also serve as lovely eulogies and are a beautiful way to convey the way you feel about your loved one.

What Is a Eulogy?

A eulogy is a tribute speech that honors someone who has died. Typically given at a funeral or memorial service, eulogies celebrate the deceased and the impact they had on the people in their lives. Close friends or family members will typically deliver the eulogy or eulogies, and many people choose to share eulogy poems in lieu of writing a speech.

Eulogy funeral poems are relatively easy to find, and you can usually find ones specific to the loss you’ve experienced. There are thousands of poems about the loss of a grandparent, parent, spouse, friend, or other loved one.

When you’re searching for a poem to read, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Eulogies usually highlight the deceased’s special qualities and/or accomplishments. Maybe they loved to play the piano or garden or travel. Perhaps they had a favorite song they used to sing in the car. Chances are you can find a poem that reflects on or alludes to what made your loved one unique.
  • Eulogies also celebrate the deceased’s impact on those around them and how they will be remembered in years to come. You might choose a poem that reflects the way you felt when you spent time with your loved one and the sadness you feel now that they are gone.
  • The tone of the eulogy poem is up to you. You might want a poem that symbolizes the somber feeling of grief or a lighthearted poem that is more celebratory. Whatever you choose, remember that the purpose of a eulogy is to paint a full picture of the person you’ve lost, so if that means your chosen poem includes humor, so be it. Laughter is a great way to uplift people in times of sorrow.

Why a Poem Instead of a Traditional Eulogy?

Writing and reading a eulogy or remembrance speech can be challenging and incredibly emotional for most people. Poems are an easy way to convey your feelings of grief without the added pressure of writing a eulogy from scratch. While it’s obviously okay and completely normal to cry while reading a eulogy, if breaking down makes you nervous, you can also practice reading the poem ahead of time or call on family and friends to support you while you read.

eulogy poems

Poems to Read at a Funeral or Memorial Service

All that said, finding the best funeral poem for you and your loved one(s) can be a challenging process. You likely want a poem that conveys your exact feelings and emotions, and while there are a lot of eulogy poems out there, you probably won’t relate to all of them. We’ve chosen 35 poems for memorial services and funerals so that you can find one that speaks to you.

Classic Funeral Poems

“Because I could not stop for death” by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death –

He kindly stopped for me –

The Carriage held but just Ourselves –

And Immortality.


We slowly drove – He knew no haste

And I had put away

My labor and my leisure too,

For His Civility –


Read the full poem here.


“Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.


“Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas

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.


Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.


Read the full poem here.


Funeral Poems About Grief & Loss

“On a Day, In the World” by Brenda Hillman

    We had a grief

we didn’t understand while

           standing at the edge of

   some low scrub hills as if

humans were extra

   or already gone;—


what had been in us before?

          a life that asks for mostly

    wanting freedom to get things done

in order to feel less

          helpless about the end

of things alone—;


Read the full poem here.


“Token Loss” by Kay Ryan

To the dragon

any loss is

total. His rest

is disrupted

if a single

jewel encrusted

goblet has 

been stolen.

The circle

of himself

in the nest

of his gold

has been

broken. No

loss is token.


“Elegy, Surrounded by Seven Trees” by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Ordinary days deliver joy easily

again & I can’t take it. If I could tell you

how her eyes laughed or describe

the rage of her suffering, I must

admit that lately my memories

are sometimes like a color

warping in my blue mind.


Metal abandoned in rain. My mother

will not move. Which is to say that

sometimes the true color of

her casket jumps from my head

like something burnt down

in the genesis of a struck flame.


Read the full poem here


Uplifting Funeral Poems

“Afterglow” by Helen Lowrie Marshall

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.


“All is Well” by Henry Scott Holland

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 still are.

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 and if you want to, 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 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. 


“I Am Free” by Shannon Lee Moseley

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,

I’m following the path God laid for me.

I took His hand when I heard Him call,

I turned my back and left it all.


I could not stay another day, to laugh,

To love, to work or play.

Tasks undone must stay that way

I’ve found that peace at the close of the day.


Read the full poem here.


“Turn Again to Life” by Mary Lee Hall

If I should die and leave you here a while,

Be not like others sore undone,

Who keep long vigil by the silent dust.

For my sake turn again to life and smile,

Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do

Something to comfort other hearts than thine.

Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine

And I perchance may therein comfort you.


Memorial Poems for a Parent

“If Roses Grow in Heaven” by Dolores M. Garcia

If roses grow in heaven,

Lord please pick a bunch for me,

Place them in my Mother’s arms

and tell her they’re from me.


Tell her I love her and miss her,

and when she turns to smile,

place a kiss upon her cheek

and hold her for awhile.


Because remembering her is easy,

I do it every day,

but there’s an ache within my heart

that will never go away.


“The Nightingale” by Vivian Ross

My beautiful Mother, my Angel

Precious nightingale,

you are now free in Heaven

to sing and praise our Lord

without a worldly care.

I hope that GOD in all His Might

will in a dream let me see

how HE now in His arms

holds and fills you with

Eternal Joy and Peace.

To see you laugh

and hear you sing

in God’s presence

is my dream.


“Dad,” Anonymous

We’ll always remember

that special smile,

that caring heart,

that warm embrace,

you always gave us.

You being there

for Mom and us,

through good and bad times,

no matter what.

We’ll always remember

you Dad because

they’ll never be another one

to replace you in our hearts,

and the love we will always

have for you.


Memorial Poems for a Grandparent

“Legacy of Love,” Anonymous

A wife, a mother, a grandma too,

This is the legacy we have from you

You taught us love and how to fight

You gave us strength, you gave us might.

A stronger person would be hard to find,

And in your heart you were always kind.

You fought for us all in one way or another

Not just as a wife not just as a mother.

For all of us you gave your best

And now the time has come for you to rest.

So go in peace, you’ve earned your sleep,

Your love in our hearts we’ll eternally keep.


“Remember Me” by Christina Rosetti

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 the 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 I once had,

Better by far that you should forget

And smile than that you should

Remember and be sad.


“You’ve Just Walked On Ahead of Me” by Joyce Grenfell

You’ve Just Walked On Ahead of Me

And I’ve got to understand

You must release the ones you love

And let go of their hand.

I try and cope the best I can

But I’m missing you so much

If I could only see you

And once more feel your touch.

Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me

Don’t worry I’ll be fine

But now and then I swear I feel

Your hand slip into mine.


“Memories in The Heart,” Anonymous

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.

She’d hoped you can carry on, the way you always do.

So talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared

The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.

Let memories surround you,

A word someone may say

Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day

That brings her back as clearly as though she was here

And fills you with the feelings that she is always near

For if you keep these moments, you will never be apart

And she will live forever, locked safe within your heart.


modern funeral poems

Modern Funeral Poems

“For Keeps” by Joy Harjo

Sun makes the day new.

Tiny green plants emerge from earth.

Birds are singing the sky into place.

There is nowhere else I want to be but here.

I lean into the rhythm of your heart to see where 

it will take us.

We gallop into a warm, southern wind.

I link my legs to yours and we ride together,

Toward the ancient encampment of our


Where have you been? they ask.

And what has taken you so long?

That night after eating, singing, and dancing

We lay together under the stars.

We know ourselves to be part of mystery.

It is unspeakable.

It is everlasting.

It is for keeps.


“Blessing for the Brokenhearted” by Jan Richardson

There is no remedy for love but to love more.

—Henry David Thoreau


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.


Read the full poem here.


“For those laid to rest here” by Fran Hall

Under a soft blanket of fallen leaves,

safe in the hush of the whispering trees

I have come home.


My time here on earth is now done,

all the noise and the clamour, the joy and the pain,

the powerful life force that drove me onwards

has slipped away into the quiet of eternity,

and I am at peace.

From now on, I will dance through your memories

threading thoughts of love through your heart.

The pain of loss will gradually ease, and the sadness will lift.

the days will be lighter, and the nights not so long,

for I am still here.


Read the full poem here.


“Adrift” by Mark Nepo

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.

This is how the heart makes a duet of

wonder and grief. The light spraying

through the lace of the fern is as delicate

as the fibers of memory forming their web

around the knot in my throat. The breeze

makes the birds move from branch to branch

as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost

in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh

of the next stranger. In the very center, under

it all, what we have that no one can take

away and all that we’ve lost face each other.

It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured

by a holiness that exists inside everything.

I am so sad and everything is beautiful.


Short Funeral Poems

“The Star,” Anonymous

A light went out on Earth for me

The day we said goodbye

And on that day a star was born,

The brightest in the sky

Reaching through the darkness

With its rays of purest white

Lighting up the Heavens

As it once lit up my life

With beams of love to heal

The broken heart you left behind

Where always in my memory

Your lovely star will shine


“Because I Love You So,” Anonymous

Time will not dim the face I love,

The voice I heard each day,

The many things you did for me,

In your own special way.

All my life I’ll miss you,

As the years come and go,

But in my heart I’ll keep you,

Because I love you so.


“Our Memories Build a Special Bridge” by Emily Mathews

Our memories build a special bridge

When loved ones have to part

To help us feel we’re with them still

And soothe a grieving heart.

They span the years and warm our lives

Preserving ties that bind;

Our memories build a special bridge

And bring us peace of mind.


From The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

when death

takes my hand

i will hold you with the other

and promise to find you

in every lifetime


Obituary Poems

If you don’t want to or are unable to read a poem at the funeral or memorial service for your loved one, consider including a poem in their obituary. Maybe they had a favorite poem that you’d like to use, or you can choose a poem that represents who they were, what they were passionate about, or how you feel about losing them. 

Writing Your Own Poem for a Funeral

Similar to writing a eulogy, you can write your own poem to share at the funeral or memorial service for your loved one. Just as you would in a eulogy, write about the person and who they were. Celebrate their characteristics, passions, and special qualities, and express what they meant to you and how you feel about their loss.

Or, if your loved one wrote any poetry while they were alive, you can share one of their poems that feels poignant for their passing.