Saying goodbye is never easy. It’s the reason why funeral services include uplifting funeral poems: it's a way to mourn the departed through a meaningful sense of ceremony. Whether practised as part of a cultural tradition, or as a personal expression of a family’s loss, funerals use a variety of ways to celebrate and remember a person’s life. And, regardless of the way they are conducted, these acts of remembrance provide a look into all that was beautiful in the life of the one we've lost.
The beauty that poetry helps to express during times of loss
Beyond expressing the sense of loss, or the sentiment of distant memories, poetry often takes encouraging tones, with some uplifting funeral poems helping to lift the spirits of those in attendance. Whether you’re arranging a funeral service to be held in-person or online, consider our collection of 21 uniquely uplifting funeral poems that might help you express all that you cherished in the one you’ve lost.
By Edna St.Vincent Millay
This poem speaks sentimentally of loved ones, and expresses the truth that while all flames eventually fade, the flame in itself was beautiful while it lasted.
“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night...”
By Joyce Grenfell
This poem beautifully describes that parting is hell, but life must go on, so sing and be happy if you can.
"If I should die before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor, when I’m gone, speak in a Sunday voice...”
By Emily Mathews
This poem explains how our loved ones who have died soothe our grieving hearts with the special memories they left behind.
“When loved ones have to part
To help us feel we’re with them still
And soothe a grieving heart...”
By Walt Whitman
This poem uses a wonderful play on words to describe a peaceful death under a warm southern wind.
“Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here...”
By Mary Elizabeth Frye
This poem could have multiple meanings, but our interpretation implies the suggestion of an afterlife. So, mourners should not weep, as their loved one is living a different life now among nature.
“Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep...”
By Rabindranath Tagore
This poem depicts the essence of wanting your friends to be happy when you pass, but wanting to be remembered as well, because memories never die.
“Farewell, my friends.
It was beautiful...”
By Christina Rossetti
This poem is great, it’s short and it hits a sweet spot. The line, “Why cry for a soul set free?” implies that we head to a better place when we die: a beautiful thought.
“When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me...”
By Robert Burns
This poem by Robert Burns describes a friend who is an honest man, a guide to youth and an informed human being. He hopes for a blissful afterlife for the man, and knows that if there isn’t one, he’s happy knowing his friend made the best of his.
“An honest man here lies at rest,
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth...”
By Georgia Harkness
This poem pays tribute to the magnificent and old, for how lucky it is ‘to be’.
“A giant pine, magnificent and old
Stood staunch against the sky and all around...”
By James Whitcomb Riley
This poem has a special touch, as it implies that death is not actually death, but simply a soul departed from Earth to a new realm.
“Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here...”
By Robert Louis Stevenson
This poem holds true for many, for the work is done, and it is now time to rest and be at peace.
“Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die...”
By Christina Rossetti
This poem could have multiple meanings, but is nonetheless meaningful to many and is written to assist with the loss of a mother.
“I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honoured name...”
By Charlotte Bronte
This poem could also hold many meanings, but we interpret it as speaking to the value of strength in hard times, despite what life throws at us.
“Yet hope again elastic springs,
Unconquered, though she fell...”
By Henry Van Dyke
This poem explores the idea that the person you've lost is gone from your sight, but still exists elsewhere, like a ship that has disappeared over the horizon.
“Just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices...”
By Helen Lowrie Marshall
An afterglow is depicted as a memory of happy emotions which we leave behind us as we pass.
“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...”
Immortality implies that dying does not mean you’re gone, but simply closer to your loved ones through a force greater than our understanding.
“I give you this one thought to keep.
I am with you still. I do not sleep...”
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
“Music, when soft voices die” was beautifully written by Percy Bysshe Shelley and expresses that love does not die when someone passes, but takes on a new form.
“Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory...”
By Ben Jonson
This poem has a different focus from many of the others mentioned here. However, its meaning is still wonderful, as it talks about how, while life can be short, in the moment of presence it truly is wonderful.
“It is not growing like a tree
in bulk, doth make Man better be;
or standing long an oak three hundred year...”
By Helen Steiner Rice
“There is no night without a dawning” has a thought-provoking ending. It describes the world as restless and care-worn, but then goes on to mention that the ones who have left us are led to a brighter world. While perhaps a little controversial, it’s definitely an interesting take.
“There is no night without a dawning
No winter without a spring
And beyond the dark horizon...”
By Leo Marks
“Absolutely lovely”, is how we would describe this poem. What a beautiful way to describe death, by suggesting that our lives live on through our loved ones.
“The life that I have is all that I have
the life that I have is yours
The love that I have for the life that I have...”
By William Allingham
Lucky last! This poem by William Allingham is open to many different interpretations, so we’ll leave this last one up to you. What does this poem make you think about?
“Everything passes and vanishes;
Everything leaves its trace;
And often you see in a footstep
What you could not see in a face...”
Uplifting funeral poems are a way to beautifully summarize cherished memories
Funeral poems are a beautiful way to capture the essence of your feelings as you reflect on a loved one's life. But beyond the funeral, how will you return to those feelings of love for that person?
An online memorial at Memories.net is a secure place where you can easily save all your photos, videos and other memories, to return to whenever you like in the days, weeks and months after a funeral.
Share it with family and close friends, and they can add their photos and memories too. Over time, the memorial can become an amazing place to visit when you need to reminisce about your loved one's incredible life.