poem index

Poems for Funerals

While many poets have written traditional elegies and poems that address overwhelming grief, few poems written about death are universal enough to be read during a memorial service. With that in mind, we've put together a list classic and contemporary poems that not only try to make meaning out of personal loss, but also might be shared at a funeral to help express the inexpressible, to help friends and family heal. 

Classic and Contemporary Poems for Funerals

I always thought death would be like traveling...
by Carl Adamshick

One Art
The art of losing isn't hard to master...
by Elizabeth Bishop

who would believe them winged...
by Lucille Clifton

Because I could not stop for Death
Because I could not stop for Death...
by Emily Dickinson

If I should die
If I should die...
by Emily Dickinson

Heaven for Helen
Heaven says heaven, for her,...
by Mark Doty

Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature's first green is gold...
by Robert Frost

To grow old is to lose everything...
by Donald Hall

Going There
Of course it was a disaster...
by Jack Gilbert

The Night Migrations
This is the moment when you see again...
by Louise Glück

The Wild Iris
At the end of my suffering...
by Louise Glück

All Us Beautiful Monsters
The entire world wants...
by Alex Lemon

The Day is Done
The day is done, and the darkness...
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Mist Everywhere
When the afternoon light...
by Nate Pritts

Remember me when I am gone away...
by Christina Rossetti

Under the Harvest Moon
Under the harvest moon...
by Carl Sandburg

Though he, that ever kind and true...
by Robert Louis Stevenson

There Will Come Soft Rains
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground...
by Sara Teasdale

Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star...
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

A child said, What is the Grass?
A child said, What is the grass? Fetching it to me...
by Walt Whitman

Song of Myself, LII
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me...
by Walt Whitman

A Love Song
What have I to say to you...
by William Carlos Williams

Place me in a plain...
by Kevin Young

Poems about Grief

"The sun rears"
by Jennifer Bartlett
by Jeffrey Brown
"Kaddish, Part I"
by Allen Ginsberg
"My Mother Sent Me"
by Michael Meyerhofer
"The Call"
by C. Dale Young

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Poems about Loss

"The Pink Crosses"
by Amanda Auchter
"Stairway to Heaven"
by Alison Hawthorne Deming
by Naomi Shihab Nye
by Matt Rasmussen
"Token Loss"
by Kay Ryan

read more

The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing