Poems & readings

Finding the words isn’t always easy, which is why many choose readings, poems or prayers that deliver the right tone, thoughtfulness, and meaning.

Many people choose to include readings or songs within a funeral ceremony. These can be written specifically for the occasion by friends or family of the loved one, or you can choose an existing piece that feels right for the day. We’ve included a selection of poems below which we have found to be popular with our families. There isn’t usually a cost for including poems or readings but you can check this with your chosen venue.

Examples of poems

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

    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glint on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.

    When you wake in the morning hush,
    I am the swift, uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft starlight at night.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there, I do not sleep.
    (Do not stand at my grave and cry.
    I am not there, I did not die!)

    Written by Mary Elizabeth Frye

  • 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 that once we shared
    Miss me, but let me go.

    For this is a journey we all must take
    And each must go alone.
    It’s all part of the master plan
    A step on the road to home.

    When you are lonely and sick at heart
    Go to the friends we know.
    Laugh at all the things we used to do
    Miss me, but let me go.

    Written by Christina Rossetti

  • The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

    He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

  • You can shed tears that she is gone
    Or you can smile because she has lived

    You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
    Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

    Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
    Or you can be full of the love that you shared

    You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
    Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

    You can remember her and only that she is gone
    Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

    You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
    Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

    Written by David Harkins

  • Death is nothing at all.
    It does not count.
    I have only slipped away into the next room.
    Nothing has happened.

    Everything remains exactly as it was.
    I am I, and you are you,
    and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
    Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

    Call me by the old familiar name.
    Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
    Put no difference into your tone.
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

    Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that 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 an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same as it ever was.
    There is absolute and 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 but waiting for you, for an interval,
    somewhere very near,
    just round the corner.

    All is well.
    Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
    One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
    How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

    Written by Henry Scott-Holland

  • Just close your eyes and you will see
    All the memories that you have of me
    Just sit and relax and you will find
    I’m really there inside your mind
    Don’t cry for me now i’m gone
    For I am in the land of song
    There is no pain, there is no fear
    So dry away that silent tear
    Don’t think of me in the dark and cold
    For here I am, no longer old
    I’m in that place that’s filled with love
    Known to you all as ‘up above’

    Written by Gaynor Llewellyn

  • I wish I could give you many more years.
    I wish I could erase away all of your tears.

    I want to take away all of your pain.
    I want to give you sunshine in the rain.

    May each new day be a perfect gift.
    May love surround you, may your spirits lift.

    If someone had to describe you, so many words come to mind.
    Beauty and grace, a heart so kind.

    You radiate warmth like a blazing fire.
    You are courage and wisdom. You truly inspire.

    You attract like a magnet beautiful things.
    You sparkle and shine like a diamond ring.

    You light up a room when you walk in.
    If someone feels sad, you can make them grin.

    You are elegant and charming. You know right from wrong.
    You are the melody from a beautiful love song.

    You are a breath of fresh air on a hot summer’s night.
    When there is darkness, you turn on the light.

    I do not want these words to make you cry.
    I do not want to ever say goodbye.

    I believe miracles really do come true.
    No one deserves one more than you.

    Please know how many lives you touch.
    These words are my present. You are loved so much.

    Written by Deborah Chesnoff

  • Please, don’t cry.
    I’m not really gone.
    When you look out the window,
    I’ll be standing on the lawn.

    Please, don’t cry.
    I’ll see you again.
    Don’t be sad;
    Keep up your chin.

    Please, don’t cry.
    I’m not really dead.
    When you cry yourself to sleep,
    I’ll be by your bed.

    Please, don’t cry.
    Just because we had to part,
    As long as you remember me,
    I’ll live in your heart.

    Please, don’t cry.
    I’m not gone forever.
    I’ll be a cool and gentle breeze
    In hot summer weather.

    Please, don’t cry.
    Don’t run and hide.
    When you need a shoulder to lean on,
    I’ll be by your side.

    Please, don’t cry.
    When you’re sad and weak,
    I’ll be there
    To kiss you on the cheek.

    Please, don’t cry.
    This is just a goodbye.
    So please, oh please,
    Baby, do not cry.

    Written by Joe Green

  • 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 (She) is Dead
    Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
    Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves.

    He (She) was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week, my Sunday rest,
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song:
    I thought that love would last forever: 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.

    Written by W. A. Auden

If you have a suggestion for a poem or reading which you think others might like, we’d love to hear it. You can use our contact form to send us message.

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