The power of funeral poems

Posted on April 26, 2019 by under Ceremonies, Funerals, Grief, Pre-planning
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For many of us, when we think of funeral poems we think “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden in the movie Five Weddings and a Funeral:

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 Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and 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.

Funeral poems help us in many ways.

  • When we have to speak at a funeral or memorial service, our own words may fail us. We turn to poets to speak on our behalf.
  • A eulogy may describe the loved one’s life and accomplishments but a poem can capture their spirit; the way they lived their life.
  • Describing your own grief may be too painful. Using the words of a poet may let you rise above or separate from your grief.

Here’s a website with 100 funeral poems. Fair warning: You will find one or more that make you cry.

Several of these poems are actually prayers or verses of scripture. Click here for 10 biblical funeral prayers for a Christian service.


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