Wednesday, 29 September 2021
Poems have always been popular at funerals and are often included in a eulogy. They can help you express your grief and provide words you’re not able to find yourself at a difficult time.
Poems can form part of the eulogy, or you can choose to have a separate poetry reading. A poem can be a connection to the person you’ve lost, it could describe something they cared about, your relationship to them, be a reminder of them, or something comforting about the process of grief.
Poetry may also give you more choice than traditional readings. Some popular poems include ‘Do Not Stand at My Grave and Cry’ by Mary Frye, and ‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ by Ellen Brenneman.
How to Choose a Funeral Poem
Your loved one may have asked for a specific poem at their funeral, but if not, where do you turn if you’re looking for poetry to say the words you can’t find.
A good place to start is a collection of remembrance poems, read through and find one that feels right. It could be about how you remember your loved one or something they might’ve liked to hear at their funeral.
This can be quite an emotional process, the best way to choose is to hold the person you’ve lost in your heart and see which poem speaks to you.
Giving a Funeral Poetry Reading
To help prepare for the reading, practice the poem at home. You don’t need to memorise it but try reading it out loud, so you get used to the way the words flow. Stick the poem somewhere that is always in sight, to remind you to practice whenever you walk past it.
Try to sound as natural as possible, use your natural voice, a lot of people speed up when talking in public, so take it slowly. On the day, taking a few deep breathes before going up to read can help with nerves.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong poetry for a funeral, or ‘proper’ way to do a reading. If you find something that expresses how you feel about the person you love, that’s the perfect poem to share with everyone else who loved them.
For help arranging a funeral, or bereavement support, please see our Grief Support Page here