Poetry for Funerals
or Grief Poems


Poetry for funerals or grief poems are one way to deal with sorrow and mourning.

Comfort is hard to come by at the time of the death of a loved one or in remembering and mourning those who left us far too soon. But comfort is what we need during those times, every little bit and piece that we can find - whether it be the touch of a hand, a quiet prayer, or a poem of light and hope.

I hope you find some comfort in the words that follow.




I gave this poem to my grandmother when my father died suddenly.

I'll Lend You A Child

"I'll lend you for a little time
a child of mine," He said.
"For you to love the while he lives
and mourn for when he's dead.
It may be many, many years
or only two or three,
But will you, till I call him back,
take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you
And should his stay be brief
You'll have his lovely memories
As solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay
Since all from earth return
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.
I've looked this wide world over
In my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes
I have selected you;
Now will you give him all your love
Nor think the labor vain
Nor hate me when I come to call
and take him back again."

I fancied that I heard them say,
"Dear Lord, thy will be done,
For all the joy this child shall bring,
the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness
We'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him
Much sooner than we planned
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And try to understand."

~ Edgar Guest


(Poetry for Funerals)


The Gateway of Life

"We say goodbye! but not forevermore;
The call but summons to yon further shore.

And when we too embark,
It is not for the dark of unknown seas,
but for the welcome meeting
with loved ones gone before,
who wait our greeting.

Living in Hope and Faith,
we fear not Death;
tis but the Gate of Life."


Comfort

Oh, deem no they are blest alone
Whose lives a peaceful tenor keep;
The Power who pities man has shown
A blessing for the eyes that weep.

The light of smiles shall fill again
The lids that overflow with tears;
And weary hours of woe and pain
Are promises of happier years.

For God has marked each sorrowing day,
And numbered every secret tear,
And heaven's long age of bliss shall pay
For all his children suffer here.

~ William Cullen Bryant


(Poetry for Funerals)


Togetherness

Death is nothing.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Whatever we were to each other, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the same easy way you always have.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it always was.
There is absolute continuity.

Why should I be out of your mind
Because I am out of your sight?
I am but waiting for you,
For an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is past.
Nothing has been lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before ...
Only better.

Infinitely happier.
We will be one,
Together,
Forever.




The following poem may not seem to be a part of poetry for funerals or grief poems but let me explain.

The first time I heard parts of this poem was when President Ronald Reagan spoke, following the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster..."The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God'."

The author of this poem was Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, No. 412 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He wrote this poem in 1941, several months before his death.

Once I had read the poem, I imagined my father - after leaving the pain of his body - now at peace, in the light, touching the face of God.

Perhaps this can help others find some peace.


High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surley bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never Lark, or even Eagle flew -
And while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

~ John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922-1941)


(Poetry for Funerals)


And for our strength, the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



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