What is a good reading at a funeral?

When you are planning a funeral there are so many things to think about and what words are going to be said during the service are amongst the most important points. You will want to find the most fitting words for the eulogy or memorial reading that will be a fitting tribute to the person you have lost and suit the  tone of occasion perfectly. 

 Reading a poem at a funeral is popular as the chosen poem can capture the grief felt by everyone and also provide comfort to the loved ones left behind. Some poems speak of the person who has died and the tremendous feelings of loss felt by their nearest and dearest, whilst others talk about the universal understanding of death. Some poems are solemn and soulful while others are equally respectful, but contain some moments of humour. There is certainly going to be a poem that suits everyone. 

 One of the most popular poems for funerals is  Do not go Gentle into that Good Night by by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914- 1953). The poem was written in 1947 and has been described in La Marginalian as - 

a rapturous ode to the unassailable tenacity of the human spirit’.

The poem is certainly regularly read at many funerals and is Thomas’ best known and most beloved poem. In the poem, Thomas uses the night as a metaphor for death. 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


 Another classic favourite is ‘Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep’ which was written by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905 – 2004) . Frye is remembered exclusively for this poem which she wrote in 1932. Margaret Schwarzkopf was a young German Jewish woman who was staying with Frye and her husband. When she heard of her mother’s death, the young woman explained her tremendous anguish she felt to Frye because she had not had the opportunity to-

 “Stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear”. 

The poem is just 12 lines long but is very popular and uplifting. In  2003 it was set to music by Geoff Stephens for that year’s Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, held the Royal Albert Hall. There have since been several other musical arrangements. The poem is a popular choice  to be read or sung at funerals. 

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 sun 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 circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die. 
Do not stand at my grave and weep Print Framed - Funeral reading - Bereavement gift - Memorial Poems - Remembrance gift - Sympathy - thepenmansden


Other popular choices for funeral poems include He/She has gone written by David Harkins and ‘Remember me when I am gone’, by Christina Rossetti.  

Remember Me Poem by Christina Rossetti - Bereavement Gifts - Bereavement Card - Memorial Gift - Funeral reading - Remember me print framed - thepenmansden
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.


All of these funeral poems can be used as a tribute, a funeral prayer,  for the eulogy or as a reading. Memorial and remembrance poems are often printed in the Order of Service for the funeral, or written on memorial bookmarks and in cards of condolence. 

 A beautiful print of these very special poems, written in delicate and stylish calligraphy makes a very special gift for someone who has lost a loved one. At The Penman’s Den the best materials including thick artisan watercolour paper are used for the prints along with commercial printers to achieve the richest tones possible.  The result is a truly exquisite print that will touch the heart of its recipient and be something  that will comfort them and that they will treasure for many years to come…. 


* For our complete collection of memorial and remembrance poems- https://thepenmansden.com/collections/memorial-poems

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