Some ideas for reading and poetry, suitable for a funeral or memorial.

I can assist you to choose readings or poems that are an appropriate tribute to the deceased person and which may also bring comfort to the bereaved.  Here are just a few that you may wish to use.   I have collected many more readings which may be appropriate for your service and am more than happy to help to find the reading that brings comfort.  

This site has an excellent selection of funeral poems Lasting Post

 If I be the First of us to Die          by Nicholas Evans

If I be the first of us to die,
Let grief not blacken long your sky.
Be bold yet modest in your grieving.
There is a change but not a leaving.
For just as death is part of life,
The dead live on forever in the living.
And all the gathered riches of our journey,
The moments shared, the mysteries explored,
The steady layering of intimacy stored,
The things that made us laugh or weep or sing,
The joy of sunlit snow or first unfurling of the spring,
The wordless language of look and touch,
The knowing,
Each giving and each taking,
These are not flowers that fade,
Nor trees that fall and crumble,
Nor are they stone,
For even stone cannot the wind and rain withstand
And mighty mountain peaks in time reduce to sand.
What we were, we are.
What we had, we have.
A conjoined past imperishably present.
So when you walk the wood where once we walked together
And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you for my shadow,
Or pause where we always did upon the hill to gaze across the land,
And spotting something, reach by habit for my hand,
And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,
Be still.
Close your eyes.
Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.

To Love
To love is to take the greatest risk of all.
It is to place one's future in one's happiness into another's hands.
It is to allow oneself to trust without reserve.
It is to accept vulnerability.
And thus I love you.
Helen Thompson

The Secret of Living "Make Each day a magnificent adventure"
Make each day a magnificent adventure.
Accept the challenges that come your way.
Seize each opportunity that you find, without concern for what others say.
Experience each day with open arms.
Savouring both victory and strife,
Welcoming the good and bad together
For only then will you know the joy of life.

When Tomorrow Starts With Out Me
When tomorrow starts without me and I am not there to see
If the sun should rise and find your eyes are filled with tears for me
I wish so much you wouldn't cry, the way you did today
While thinking of the many things we didn't get to say
I know how much you loved me as much as I loved you   
And each time you think of me I know you'll miss me too
But, when tomorrow starts without me, please try and understand
That an angel called my name and took me by the hand
When tomorrow starts without me, don't think we are apart
For every time you think of me I am right there in your heart

   Song                Song                Christina Rossetti

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain;
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

All Is Well
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Henry Scott Holland

Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Time adapted from Ecclesiastes
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;…..
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance;….
For everything there is a season, and time for every matter under heaven.

Do no stand at my grave and weep
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 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.

A Song of Living        by Amelia Josephine Burr
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.     
I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheek like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have kissed young love on the lips; I have heard her song to the end.
I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.
I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.
I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.

I give a share of my soul to the world where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task I must leave undone.
I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.
As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die. 

Miss Me But Let me Go
Now I've come to the end of the road
And the sun has set me free,
I want no rites in a gloom-gilled room,
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little, but not too long
And not with a head bowed low.
Remember the life that once we shared,
Miss me but let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all a part of the Master's plan,
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds,
Miss me but let me go.

On Death, from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
'You would know the secret of death, but how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your hearts wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depths of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour…
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance

On Joy & Sorrow from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other
is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall

 He/She is Gone
You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see 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 he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

 That Man is a Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson
"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived.
This is to have succeeded."

I leave myself to your memory with love,
I leave my thoughts, my laughter,
My dreams to you,
Whom I have treasured.
I give you what no thief can steal.
The memories of our times together,
The tender moments,
The success we have shared,
The hard times that brought us closer together
And the road we have walked side by side…..

And all I take with me as I leave
Is your love and the millions of memories
Of all that we have shared
So I truly enter my new life as a millionaire.
Fear not nor grieve at my departure;
For you whom I have loved so much,
My roots and yours
Are forever intertwined.


Saying goodbye

Sometimes - The "Footprints"poem
Sometimes on our
journey through life
we meet people who leave
footprints on our mind
-they challenge us to see things differently
and to question our personal reality.

Sometimes on our
journey through life
we meet people who leave
footprints on our heart
they create a safe place for us
to open our hearts to feel loved and special

Then sometimes on our journey through life
we meet people who leave
footprints on our souls
-they share themselves with us so profoundly
that they touch the very essence of who we are
in that secret quiet place

The deceased has left gentle footprints on the minds, hearts
and souls of many here to-day.
May we always remember the beauty of her/his love,
her/his kindness and the special way she/he touched our lives.


To Those I Love  By Isla Paschal Richardson
If I should ever leave you,
Whom I love
To go along the silent way. . .
Grieve not.
Nor speak of me with tears.
But laugh and talk of me
As if I were beside you there.
(I'd come . . . I'd come,
Could I but find a way!
But would not tears and
And grief be barriers?)
And when you hear a song
Or see a bird I loved,
Please do not let the thought of me
Be sad. . .for I am loving you
Just as I always have. . .
You were so good to me!
There are so many things
I wanted still to do. . .
So many things I wanted to say
to you. . . Remember that
I did not fear. . . It was
Just leaving you
That was so hard to face.
We cannot see beyond. . .
But this I know:
I loved you so. . .
'twas heaven here with you.