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Five Modern Funeral Poems

21 Mar 2023 | 2 min read time

The perfect poem can help to bring comfort at a funeral or wake. While you might be familiar with some of the classic and popular funeral poems like ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ by Dylan Thomas, Mary Frye’s ‘Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep’ or Tennyson’s ‘Crossing the Bar’, if you’re looking for a more modern poem to inspire your eulogy, we have five that just might help.

Most Importantly Love - Rupi Kaur

most importantly love
like it's the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this
means nothing
this page
where you're sitting
your degree
your job
the money
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them

Life After Death – Laura Gilpin

The things I know:
how the living go on living
and how the dead go on living with them

So that in a forest
even a dead tree casts a shadow
and the leaves fall one by one
and the branches break in the wind
and the bark peels off slowly
and the trunk cracks
and the rain seeps in through the cracks
and the trunk falls to the ground
and the moss covers it

and in the spring the rabbits find it
and build their nests inside
and have their young
and their young will live safely
inside the dead tree

So that nothing is wasted in nature or in love

A Long Cup of Tea – Michael Ashby

Death is too negative for me
So I’ll be popping off for a long cup of tea
Do splash out on two tea bags in the pot
And for God’s sake keep the water hot
Please pick the biggest mug you can find
Size really does matter at this time
I’ll pass on the lapsang with that souchong
And that stuff with bergamot
And stick with my favourite friend
You know the English breakfast blend
Breakfast! Thanks for reminding me
There’s just time before I fail
To stand on ceremony
Two rashers of best back, should keep me
Smelling sweet up the smokestack
So, mother, put the kettle on for me
It’s time, mother, for my long cup of tea

Gone but not Forgotten – Ellen Brenneman

Don’t think of her/him as gone away
Her/ His journey’s just begun,
Life hold so many facets
This earth is only one.
Just think of her/him as resting
From the sorrows and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days and years.
Think how she/he must be wishing
That we could know today
How nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away.
And think of her/him as living
In the hearts of those she/he touched
For nothing is ever lost
And she/he was loved so much.

She is Gone (He is Gone) – David Harkins

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 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

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