Poetry for a Funeral

Poetry for a Funeral – Recommended by RevGals

  • Henry Scott Holland poem “Death is Nothing at All.” I use it at almost every funeral.
  • “Gone From My Sight!” by Henry Van Dyke
  • I love Jane Kenyon’s “Let Evening Come.”
  • e.e. cummings “The Eagle.” (Scroll down a bit)
  • I love “Apple Picking Time” by Frost. Its so lovely.
  • Lord Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar”
  • Edgar Allen Guest’s “Home”
  • Mary Oliver …. “when death comes”
  • W.H. Auden, “Funeral Blues” (Matthew in Four Weddings & A Funeral – see video below)
  • Do you think “Death Be Not Proud” by John Donne is usual?
  • My favorite is “The Ship” by Victor Hugo
  • “Ithaka” by Cavafy
  • Sorry for incomplete info – but I’ve used a passage from a Wendell Berry book of poems that talks about “going as one who knows the way.” You would have to see more to get the spirit of it.
  • Christina Rossetti – “Remember me when I am gone away”
  • William Penn, “They that love beyond the World”
  • Jane Kenyon’s poem, “Otherwise.”
  • Why not read hymnody. Chances of the theology being good is much greater. Love Divine, all loves excelling pretty much sums up a Christian theology of death.
  • Look at Jane Kenyon’s poem “Let Evening Come.” Beautiful!
  • Mary Oliver, “In Blackwater Woods.”
  • For the conclusion of my father’s funeral, I used the final stanza of Robert Service’s “The Ballad of the Wage Slave.” The theology is a bit objectionable, but he was my dad’s favorite.
  • I usually always use the poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis at graveside … simple, but meaningful.



2 thoughts on “Poetry for a Funeral

  1. Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep (Mary Elizabeth Frye)

    I would like to read a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye, written in 1932, for a young German Jewish woman, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who was staying with her and her husband. When Margaret’s mother fell in and died she was distraught that it was not safe to return to Germany. The heartbroken young woman told Frye that she never had the chance to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear”. Frye found herself composing a piece of verse on a brown paper shopping bag. Later she said that the words “just came to her” and expressed what she felt about life and death.

    This reminds us that death is not all there is:

    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 glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.


  2. Thanatopsis…


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