How to pay tribute to a loved one using poems

Preparing a funeral for a loved one can be hard. As well as getting all the practical details right, you have to be mindful of how to capture the essence of the person who has passed on.

This is often expressed in the eulogy or funeral speech. However, it can be hard to capture in your own words exactly what that person meant to you and their wider community.

That’s where poems come in. They’re an eloquent and ready-made alternative to writing a eulogy about your lost loved one. They can also supplement words you have put together yourself and can be used at any point in the funeral service.

The best poems for funerals capture what you are trying to express – your love and admiration of the person who has passed on and your gratitude for having had them in your life.

They are also very useful when it comes to paying tribute to someone who may have passed in difficult circumstances, particularly if they were young or had a prolonged illness or a troubled life.

The familiarity of well-known poems and the beauty of their words will also bring comfort to the mourners. You can use humour to lighten the mood, choose a poem based on nature to evoke beautiful images or select a short poem that crystallises the life of your loved one.

We’ve pulled together some examples to show you just how effective poems can be when you are grieving, offering examples for different types of loss.

Choosing a poem when a loss is expected

When an older person passes away, although their loss is expected, it still evokes feelings of intense grief. In these circumstances, poems that look to happier times can be a great comfort.

This poem by Helen Steiner Rice offers the listeners solace, encouraging them to look forward to a time when they are reunited with their loved one.

When I Must Leave You

When I must leave you for a little while,
please do not grieve and shed wild tears
and hug your sorrow to you through the years,
but start out bravely with a gallant smile;
and for my sake and in my name live on
and do all things the same.
Feed not your loneliness on empty days,
but fill each waking hour in useful ways.
Reach out your hand in comfort and in cheer
and I in turn will comfort you
and you will know that I am always near;
and never, never be afraid to die,
for I am waiting for you in the sky!

Poems that reflect the natural world are also appropriate when you lose an older loved one, as they remind us of the cycle of life.

M D Hughes uses images taken from nature to offer consolation to mourners in this thought-provoking poem.

The Tide Recedes

The tide recedes but it leaves behind
bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down but gentle warmth
still lingers on the land.
The music stops, yet somehow
continues in sweet refrain.
For every joy that passes,
something beautiful remains.

After a loved one has suffered with an illness

When someone close to you passes away after a long illness, their loss can be seen as a release from their suffering.

This poem by Gary Claude Stoker compares passing on to being set free and viewing the world in an unrestricted way, as a pilot would.

Impressions Of A Pilot

Flight is freedom in its purest form,
To dance with the clouds which follow a storm;
To roll and glide, to wheel and spin,
To feel the joy that swells within.

To leave the earth with its troubles and fly,
And know the warmth of a clear spring sky;
Then back to earth at the end of the day,
Released from the tensions which melted away.

Should my end come while I am in flight,
Whether brightest day or darkest night;
Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,
Secure in the knowledge that I’d do it again.

For each of us is created to die,
And within me I know,
I was born to fly.

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A poem to commemorate the loss of a child

The loss of a baby or young child is unbearably hard, and it can be difficult to find words to reflect their short life as well as your loss.

Tiny Angel, by an unknown author, acknowledges that while it’s hard to make sense of such a loss, the loved ones left behind may take comfort in thinking of their child as an angel in heaven.

Tiny Angel

For brief and fleeting moment, an angel touched the ground;
With tiny wings and halo, and sweet, soft angel sounds.

Blessing the lives of others, in beauty and in grace;
Those who saw the angel, knew God had kissed his tiny face.

The angel came for reasons we may not understand;
A journey brief, with gifts so great, and guided by God’s hand.

So, rest now tiny angel, your work on earth is through;
In the beauty of God’s perfect love we saw His gift in you.

Find more poems for funerals

Baileys Print Co is an established family printing business with a personal touch. We have many years of experience in printing funeral stationery and are here to offer a helping hand in your time of need.

We have many more poems and passages suitable for reading out at funerals on our website. It’s all part of our service to help you at a challenging time.

We can help you plan and print funeral stationery, including memorial cardsorder of service cardsorder of service booklets and santini cards, as well as keepsake items.

Contact our friendly team so we can discuss your requirements and help you plan a funeral that’s a fitting tribute to your loved one.

Baileys Print Co.

Baileys Print Co. is a family run printing business based in Melbourne. We’ve been getting inky fingers for over 19 years.