The funeral can be even more so.
Besides all the grieving and pain, you’ve got to figure out what to say.
Your words are important. They should be loving, respectful and poignant.
That’s why many people choose to recite verse rather than make a speech. Poetry often accomplishes what prose cannot.
The right words evoke wistful memory, musings of love, and can provide solace to a crowd in mourning. Poetry certainly has its place at a funeral, but which poem should you choose?
Often, finding the right poem depends largely on your relationship with the deceased and the general mood of the proceedings.
Brevity is best in these times, so short funeral poems are often more appreciated than ballads or longer verse.
Need some ideas?
Check out this list of 10 short funeral poems
1. Short Funeral Poems: Happy the Man
Happy the Man by John Dryden is a great poem for a funeral.
The tone is defiant and joyful in nature. It does not mention death, rather it celebrates the accomplishments of a life well lived.
The poem could as much be about the end of a particularly hard month as it could be about the end of a life.
2. Short Funeral Poems: A Song of Living
A Song of Living by Amelia Josephine Barr is a unique work of art.
It can be read by anyone, because it encompasses the perspective of all people. Each of the three stanzas ends with the line “Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die”.
It’s perfect in that it declines a stance of fear in the face of death. Instead, it opts for an uplifting tone listing life’s joys in the face of sorrow.
3. Short Funeral Poems: ‘Tis Better to Have Loved and Lost
‘Tis Better to Have Loved and Lost by Alfred Tennyson is one of the most famous poems around.
This short, four-line read is bittersweet in nature. It calls upon the audience to remember good times in light of the bad, perfect for the somber yet celebratory tone of a funeral.
4. Short Funeral Poems: Let Me Go
Let Me Go by Christina Rosetti is a beautiful piece of poetry.
It calls upon the audience to be happy in the face of death. It begs laughter, happiness and remembrance.
It’s (ironically) unlikely that there will be a dry eye in the crowd at the end of this poem, but that’s part of its beauty.
5. Short Funeral Poems: To Those Whom I Love, and Those Who Love Me
This beautifully pleading piece has no known author. It addresses audience members personally, asking them to let go of their loved one and allow a peaceful passage to the unknown.
It ends by suggesting that the audience will meet once again with their dearly departed in the world to come, but it holds no religious tone.
6. Short Funeral Poems: God Saw You Getting Tired
God Saw You Getting Tired by Katie Evans is a perfect short poem for a religious service.
Though it is non-denominational, it does speak of God and heaven. The poem is heart-wrenchingly beautiful, mentioning pain and suffering before a final peace.
7. Short Funeral Poems: If I Should Die
If I Should Die by Emily Dickinson is one of the happier poems on the list.
It speaks in quite a playful manner about death, remarking on the irony of life going on as usual after the passing of a loved one.
Rather than being inappropriate, it will create a wistful air that makes listeners’ lips curl up into a smile.
8. Short Funeral Poems: I Am Standing Upon the Seashore
I Am Standing Upon the Seashore by Henry Van Dyke is a metaphorical piece on the subject of passing.
The poem describes the beautiful scene of a ship setting sail from one shore and coming to rest at another. Van Dyke compares it frankly to death at the end of the poem.
9. Short Funeral Poems: Annabel Lee
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe is not traditionally found on any list of short funeral poems.
However, it must be included for its sheer beauty. It’s a poem perfect for a husband or wife to read at the funeral, being about romantic love and loss.
Annabel Lee is an incredibly moving and sad piece, and very respectful in its remembrance.
10. Short Funeral Poems: Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do Not Stand by My Grave and Weep by Mary Frye is an uplifting poem.
It is a statement about the dead living on in the life of those who still live and in the nature all around us.
Short Funeral Poems are the Perfect Statement
Reading poems is a statement of happiness and celebration of the life which has been lived. Pick any of these short funeral poems to inspire and move the audience at a funeral.