One of the most frequent questions we are asked at Co-op Funeral Directors in Essex is for advice on where to find meaningful readings and poems, as it can often be very difficult to express your feelings about a loved one after they have passed away. If you find it difficult, the words of a poet can be a wonderful way to show how much they mean to you. We have compiled a selection of popular poems and readings, to provide you with some inspiration when trying to find a heartfelt tribute for your loved one. Please search the internet for the full readings.

1. Do not stand at my grave and weep

This is a very well-known poem written in the 1930s by Mary Elizabeth Frye – when someone you love dies, they are always around you.
‘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 glint on snow.’

2. She is gone (He is gone)

This uplifting poem was written by David Harkins and is based on a short verse about cherishing a loved one’s life.

‘You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.’

3. If I should go tomorrow

The author, unknown, celebrates the love inside us which lives on after a loved one has passed.

‘If I should go tomorrow
It would never be goodbye,
For I have left my heart with you,
So don’t you ever cry.’

4. Time will ease the hurt

This poem, written by Bruce Wilmer, touches on the slow process of grief following the passing of a loved one, but remembering that it does get easier over time.

‘No wound so deep will ever go
entirely away
yet every hurt becomes
a little less from day to day.’

5. Candle on the water

The ‘Candle on the water’ ballad from the film ‘Pete’s Dragon’ may be a Disney song, but is loaded with meaning; life is made easier by having our friends and family around us, and those who die never truly leave our side.

‘I’ll be your candle on the water
My love for you will always burn
I know you’re lost and drifting
But the clouds are lifting
Don’t give up, you have somewhere to turn.’

6. Let me go

This poem is one of two in this list by the famous Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. It is a short but uplifting piece about saying goodbye.

‘When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?’

7. Not, how did he die, but how did he live?

This is a short reading written by Summer Sandercox about remembering to celebrate all the good things your loved one achieved during their time on earth.

‘Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but what did he give?’

8. Remember

This the second poem in this list by Victorian poet Christina Rossetti about the feelings of remembering a loved one.

‘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.’

9. Death is nothing at all

A poem by Canon Henry Scott-Holland which is said to be his best-known writing. He shows us that a death does not have to leave a hole in our lives.

‘Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you.’

10. As long as hearts remember

By an unknown author, this short funeral verse talks about remembering loved ones by keeping the love you feel for them alive in your heart.

‘As long as hearts remember
As long as hearts still care
We do not part with those we love
They’re with us everywhere.’

Full details of the readings and poems above can be found by searching online.