Poems for Civil or Non-Religious Funerals
Civil or non-religious funerals can be held in any location, with our without the assistance of a civil celebrant. They may follow any format and can contain poems, songs, music or a reading from a favourite book. Family members and friends are free to take part in whatever way the family would like.
We have put together a collection of poems suitable for civil or non-religious funerals. Poetry, in particular, is often used to reflect thoughts and emotions and can be a meaningful way for a family member of friend to take part in the ceremony.
Farewell My Friends
Farewell My Friends
It was beautiful
As long as it lasted
The journey of my life.
I have no regrets
The pain I’ll leave behind.
Those dear hearts
Who love and care…
And the strings pulling
At the heart and soul…
The strong arms
That held me up
When my own strength
Let me down.
At the turning of my life
I came across
Friends who stood by me
Even when time raced me by.
Farewell, farewell My friends
I smile and
Bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears
For I need them not
All I need is your smile.
If you feel sad
Do think of me
For that’s what I’ll like
When you live in the hearts
Of those you love
You never die.
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye
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
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 day 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.
(S)He is gone
You can shed tears that (s)he is gone
Or you can smile because (s)he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that (s)he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that (s)he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see (her) 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 (s)he is gone
Or you can cherish (her) 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.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
W. B. Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build 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 shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
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, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
The Day You Left
With tears we saw you suffer,
As we watched you fade away,
Our hearts were almost broken,
As you fought so hard to stay.
We knew you had to leave us,
But you never went alone,
For part of us went with you
The day you left your home.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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 woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
(Note: some families choose not to read the final verse at funerals).
The Parting Glass
Irish Traditional Song
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.
by David Chadwick Rites of Passage
You promised me you’d always be there.
You sat there, in that chair and promised me.
Large as life, ebullient, robust;
they were the words that sealed your promise
You stood by the shore
As we laughed and squealed with delight as
you picked up rocks and tossed them with ease
Splashing us with expectations of your invincibility.
You were invincible. weren’t you Daddy?
Or was it just a trick of time
That made me believe that you could live forever?
We Remember Them
Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer
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.
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