Funeral Poems, Music and Eulogies
by Helen Lowrie Marshall
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.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun
of happy memories
that I leave when life is done.
He is gone or (she is gone)
by David Harkins
You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
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 him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he would want:
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Time will ease the hurt
by Bruce B Wilmer
The sadness of the present days is locked and set in time.
And moving to the future is a slow and painful climb.
But all the feelings that are now so vivid and so real
Can’t hold their fresh intensity as time begins to heal.
No wound so deep will ever go entirely away
Yet every hurt becomes a little less from day to day.
Nothing can erase the painful imprints on your mind
But there are softer memories that time will let you find.
Though your heart won’t let the sadness simply slide away
The echoes will diminish even though the memories stay.
Don’t grieve for me for now I’m free,
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call:
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work and play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I found my place at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joys.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I too shall miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow:
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savoured much;
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my life seems all too brief:
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me;
God wanted me now, He set me free.
by Christina Rosetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Something beautiful remains
by Martha Vashti Pearson
The tide recedes, but leaves behind
Bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down but gentle warmth
Still lingers on the land.
The music stops and yet it lingers on
In sweet refrain.
For every joy that passes
Something beautiful remains.
The clock of life is wound but once
by Robert H Smith
The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour. To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed
To lose one’s health is more,
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no man can restore. The present is our own,
So live love, toil with a will
Place no faith in “tomorrow,”
For the clock may then be still.
The world’s greatest need
by C Austin Miles
A little kindness and a little less greed;
A little more giving and a little less need;
A little more smile and a little less frown;
A little less kicking a man when he’s down;
A little more ‘we’ and a little less ‘I';
A little more laughs and a little less cry;
A little more flowers on the pathway of life;
And fewer on graves at the end of the strife.
When at heart you should be sad
by Sir Walter Raleigh
When at heart you should be sad,
Pondering the joys we had,
Listen and keep very still.
If the lowing from the hill
Or the toiling of a bell
Do not serve to break the spell,
Listen: you may be allowed
To hear my laughter from a cloud.
Turn again to life
by Mary Lee Hall
If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone,
who keep long vigil by the silent dust.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand
to do something to comfort other hearts than mine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I perchance may therein comfort you.
To those I love
by Isla Paschal Richardson
If I should ever leave you whom I love
To go along the Silent Way, grieve not,
Nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk
Of me as if I were beside you there,
(I’d come… I’d come, could I but find a way!
But would not tears and grief be barriers?)
And when you hear a song or see a bird I loved,
Please do not let the thought of me be sad…
For I am loving you just as I always have…
You were so good to me!
There are so many things I wanted still to do…
So many things to say to you…
Remember that I did not fear…
It was just leaving you that was so hard to face…
We cannot see Beyond… But this I know;
I loved you so…
‘Twas heaven here with you!
Miss me, but let me go
by Edgar Albert Guest
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 we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go.
For this journey that we all must take
And each must go alone;
It's all a part of the Master's plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me, but let me go.
No night without
by Helen Steiner Rice
There is no night without a dawning
No winter without a spring
And beyond the dark horizon
Our hearts will once more sing...
For those who leave us for a while
Have only gone away
Out of a restless, care worn world
Into a brighter day.
Ancient Egyptian poem
from The Book of the Dead (circa 4500 BC)
As each day ends may I have lived,
That I may truly say:
I did no harm to human kind,
From truth I did not stray;
I did no wrong with knowing mind,
From evil I did keep;
I turned no hungry person away,
I caused no one to weep.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
and a small cabin built there, of clay and wattles made:
nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
and live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I will have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
there midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
and evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
while I stand on the roadway, upon the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
If I should die
by Thomas Gray
If I should die and leave you
Be not like the others, quick undone
Who keep long vigils by the silent
dust and weep. For my sake turn to life and smile
Nerving thy heart and trembling
hand to comfort weaker souls than thee.
Complete these unfinished tasks of mine
And I perchance may therein comfort thee.
Stop all the clocks
by WH Auden
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 crêpe 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, my 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.
In memoriam A.H.H. (Part XXVII)
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I envy not in any moods,
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:
I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weed of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
If only we could see the splendour of the land
To which our loved ones are called from you and me
If only we could hear the welcome they receive
From old familiar voices all so dear
We would not grieve
If only we could know the reason why they went
We'd smile and wipe away the tears that flow
And wait content.
They that love beyond the world
by William Penn
They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it,
death cannot kill what never dies.
Nor can spirits ever be divided that love
and live in the same divine principle,
the root and record of their friendship.
If absence be not death, neither is theirs.
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas;
they live in one another still.
For they must needs be present,
that love and live in that which is omnipresent.
In this divine glass, they see face to face;
and their converse is free as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends,
that though they may be said to die,
yet their friendship and society are,
in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
Do not weep for me
Do not weep for me, for I have lived…
I have joined my hand with my fellows’ hands,
to leave the planet better than I found it.
Do not weep for me, for I have loved and been loved by
my family, by those I loved who loved me back
for I never knew a stranger, only friends.
Do not weep for me.
When you feel the ocean spray upon your face,
I am there.
When your heart beats faster at the dolphin’s leaping grace,
I am there.
When you reach out to touch another’s heart,
as now I touch God’s face,
I am there.
Do not weep for me. I am not gone.
Gates of prayer
by Rabbi Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer
As long as we live, they too will live;
For they are now a part of us:
As we remember them!
At the rising sun and at its going down we remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter we remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring we remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer we remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn we remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends we remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us. As we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart we remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make we remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share we remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs we remember them.
For as long as we live, they too will live,
For they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
The existence of love
by Marjorie Pizer
I had thought that your death
Was a waste and a destruction,
A pain of grief hardly to be endured.
I am only beginning to learn
That your life was a gift and a growing
And a loving left with me.
The desperation of death
Destroyed the existence of love,
But the fact of death
Cannot destroy what has been given.
I am learning to look at your life again
Instead of at your death and your departing.
The parting glass
Oh all the time that e'er I spent,
I spent it in good company;
And any harm that e'er I've done,
I trust it was to none but me;
May those I've loved through all the years
Have memories now they'll e'er recall;
So fill me to the parting glass,
Goodnight, and joy be with you all.
Oh all the comrades that e'er I had,
Are sorry for my going away;
And all the loved ones that e'er I had
Would wish me one more day to stay.
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should leave and you should not,
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
Goodnight, and joy be with you all.
Of all good times that e'er we shared,
I leave to you fond memory;
And for all the friendship that e'er we had
I ask you to remember me;
And when you sit and stories tell,
I'll be with you and help recall;
So fill to me the parting glass,
God bless, and joy be with you all.
Epitaph on my own friend
by Robert Burns
An honest man here lies at rest,
As e’er God with his image blest;
the friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so informed;
If there is another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
I fall asleep
by Samuel Butler
I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
That my slumber shall not be broken;
And that though I be all-forgetting,
Yet shall I not be forgotten,
But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds
of those I loved.
by Margaret Mead
To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea - remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty - remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity - remember me.
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, your memories of the times we loved,
the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent persons
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And to endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one's self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know that even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived -
This is to have succeeded.
Death is nothing at all
by Henry Scott-Holland
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!
Other suggested poems:
Do not go gentle into that good night, by Dylan Thomas
All is well, by Henry Scott-Holland
Do not stand at my grave and weep, by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Goodbye my fancy! by Walt Whitman
Music to play at a Funeral
Music is a beautiful part of any funeral service. It can soothe, calm, uplift, give reassurance, honour, celebrate and set the tone. Crematorium chapels can download most pieces of music or if the service is in a church or at a graveside, music can be played in other ways.
The suggestions below are grouped into categories to help in your search.
Popular funeral songs
Time to say Goodbye, by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
Over the Rainbow, by Eva Cassidy (or Israel Kamakawiwoʻole)
My Way, by Frank Sinatra
Dance with my Father, by Luther Vandross
To where you are, by Josh Groban
Supermarket Flowers, by Ed Sheeran
See you again, by Wiz Khalifa, featuring Charlie Puth
There you’ll be, by Faith Hill
Canon in D, by Johann Pachelbel
Pie Jesu, by Fauré
Air on a G String, by Bach
Adagio, by Albinoni
Méditation, by Massenet
Ave Maria, by Schubert
Nimrod from Enigma Variations, by Elgar
Hymns for funerals
Abide with Me
The Lord is my Shepherd
Lord of all Hopefulness
How Great Thou Art
I watch the Sunrise
The Day Thou Gavest
Make me a Channel of Thy Peace
Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer
Morning has Broken
Old Rugged Cross
Love Divine all Loves Excelling
Be Still My Soul
Do Not Be Afraid
O Perfect Love
The King of Love my Shepherd is
Walk with me oh my Lord
Nearer my God to Thee
Our God Our Help in Ages Past
Writing a Eulogy for a Funeral
Capture the essence of the person. What was their character? What was their spirit? What legacy have they left?
The eulogy can contain the facts about that person's life - their family details and working life - but you are seeking to inspire those who are listening to reflect and learn from the life of the person who has died so that they can go on to live life at their most full, to love and also to forgive others more freely, if necessary.
Thank people for coming and for cards, letters, flowers and kind gestures.
What did he/she love doing?
What did the person teach you? What were their values?
Include some funny stories.
Include some quotations:
“The idea is to die young as late as possible.”
“What you leave behind is what is woven into the stuff of other men’s lives.” Pericles.
“The song is ended, but the melody lingers on.” Irving Berlin
“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.” Pierre Auguste Renoir
“It’s hard to turn the page when you know someone won’t be in the next chapter, but the story must go on.”
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Dr Seuss
If the person had a faith, interweave religious beliefs into their way they lived their lives. For example:
We were taught to love thy neighbour as thyself. Everyone was a neighbour to (person’s name) – nurses, shopkeepers, delivery drivers… he treated everyone with love and respect.
Remember that no-one is perfect! We all have our foibles and you can acknowledge someone’s stubbornness, for example, through humorous examples or through a link to a choice of song, such as ‘My Way’!