Choosing or Writing a Funeral Poem

Choosing a funeral poem or reading can seem overwhelming. Use these tips to select a reading, or write one of your own to honor a loved one.

When a loved one passes, many individuals find comfort in kind words that help them remember the spirit of the departed. Words that commemorate their life, their accomplishments, and their personality. These words often come in the form of soothing or meaningful poems. There are many great poets who, over the years, have composed beautiful pieces that individuals often incorporate in funerals or use as words for engraving on a headstone.

Additionally, many people choose to write their own poems to honor loved ones. These poems are deeply personal and often include fond memories or words of admiration. Writing your own poem to remember a loved one who passes away is sentimental and is something that you can hold on to forever, to look back and remember. 

Where to Use a Funeral Poem

If you have a poem in mind that you would like to incorporate into the funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life of a loved one, you may be wondering the best context in which to use it. There are many opportunities to incorporate the poem you wish to include.

Some individuals choose to include a short poem in the announcement of a loved one’s passing, or in an obituary. Others choose to have excerpts of poems engraved on headstones. Still, some people prefer to include poems on invitations to the funeral or reception or in the service program. When giving a eulogy, people sometimes choose to read a poem as part of the speech.

There is no right or wrong way to incorporate a funeral poem. However you feel most comfortable doing so is the best way. Sometimes individuals hand write poems and leave them at a gravesite. These ways are all appropriate, thoughtful, and meaningful.

Examples of Funeral Poems

A quick online search will yield thousands of results for popular funeral poems. If you are having trouble finding the right words to say, or are looking for inspiration when writing your own poem, this is an excellent place to start. 

There are many different types of funeral poems. They range from religiously centered to inspirational, and there are poems dedicated to those in the armed forces or in other specific professions. There are poems for firefighters, police officers, and more. You may wish to choose one of these poems to honor your loved one’s career or religious beliefs. You may also choose a poem based on your relationship with your loved one. There are poems for mothers, fathers, spouses, siblings, friends, and more.

Choose the poem that speaks to you the most. There is no wrong way to go if it is a piece that you feel content using. How you honor your loved one is a choice that is deeply personal and only you can decide. If you have a favorite poet, or your loved one had a favorite poet, look through their work to see if there is a piece that your heart is pulled towards. 

Famous Funeral Poems

If you are looking for more classic or famous funeral poems, there are many to choose from. See a few on the list below.

  • I Carry Your Heart With Me (E.E. Cummings)
  • Warm Summer Sun (Mark Twain)
  • Nothing Gold Can Stay (Robert Frost)
  • They That Love Beyond the World (William Penn)
  • God Saw You Getting Tired (Frances and Kathleen Coelho)

Writing Your Own Funeral Poem

Sometimes, no matter how many online searches you do or how many poems you read, they still do not reflect your feelings or everything you wish to say. This is normal, and if you cannot find a poem in your readings or online that does not fully resonate with you, it may be best to write your own poem. 

Writing your own poem does not have to be extensive. Some poems are only four or five lines long, and that is enough. Others are much longer. Use however many words you need to say what you wish to say in honor of your loved one. 

Keep these tips in mind when writing a funeral poem:

  • What the person meant to you
  • The feelings your loved one evoked in you
  • Your specific relationship to the person (parent, sibling, friend)
  • Fond memories you shared together
  • Personality traits of your loved one
  • How you wish to remember the individual
  • Always speak from your heart 

Poems do not always have to be sad. They may be strong, and encouraging. This may be appropriate if your loved one was a bold person with a strong personality, known for their resilience. A poem like this can bring comfort to others in a time of grief.

The most important thing to remember when selecting or writing a funeral poem is that you should pick the piece that means the most to you and reflects how you feel about your loved one. Do not feel bound by tradition. Speak the words you love.

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