Funeral Readings & Verses

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It is often hard to think about what one might include as part of a meaningful funeral service, especially if the person who passed away was private in nature, or if there aren’t many ‘talkers’ in the family. Poems, readings and prayer can offer a helping hand here – below are some of the CFQ team’s favourites. In no particular order…


1. A poem with a lesson – ‘The Dash’ by Linda Ellis 

Ellis’ poem focusses on the value of the ‘dash’ that is between the birth date and date of their passing. It is not only a reflection of the life of the person lost but also a reminder for the reader to live their own ‘dash’ to the fullest.

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at a funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears
But said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

© Linda Ellis


2. A blessing for all – The Irish Blessing

This blessing was originally an Irish prayer, first written in the Irish Gaelic language, the language of Ireland.

The Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

There are also song versions: YouTube


3. A message – ‘I Carry Your Heart with Me’ by E.E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
And it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
And this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

© E.E. Cummings


4. For the young (or young at heart) – STRONGER. BRAVER. SMARTER.

Christopher Robin: “Pooh Bear, what if someday there came a tomorrow when we were apart?”
Pooh: “As long as we’re apart together, we shall certainly be fine.”
Christopher Robin: “Yes, yes, of course. But if, if we weren’t together… if i were somewhere else?“
Pooh: “Oh, but you really couldn’t be, as I would be quite lost without you. Who would I call on those days when I’m just not strong enough or brave enough?”
Christopher Robin: “Well, actually…“
Pooh: “And who would I ask for advice when I didn’t know which way to turn?”
Christopher Robin: “Pooh, we…“
Pooh: “We… we simply wouldn’t be.”
Christopher Robin: “Oh, Pooh. If ever there’s a tomorrow when we’re not together, there’s something you must remember.“
Pooh: “And what might that be, Christopher Robin?”
Christopher Robin: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.“
Pooh: “Oh, that’s easy. We’re braver than a bee, and, uh, longer than a tree, and taller than a goose… or, uh, was that a moose?”
Christopher Robin: “No, silly, old bear! You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you. I’ll always be with you. I’ll always be with you.“

Video version: YouTube


5. For a fisherman – ‘Gone Fishin’ by Delmar Pepper

Gone Fishin’

I’ve finished life’s chores assigned to me,
So put me on a boat headed out to sea.
Please send along my fishing pole
For I’ve been invited to the fishin’ hole.

Where every day is a day to fish,
To fill your heart with every wish.
Don’t worry, or feel sad for me,
I’m fishin’ with the Master of the sea.

We will miss each other for awhile,
But you will come and bring your smile.
That won’t be long you will see,
Till we’re together you and me.

To all of those that think of me,
Be happy as I go out to sea.
If others wonder why I’m missin’
Just tell ’em I’ve gone fishin’

© Delmar Pepper


6. A reminder to ‘Miss Me But Let Me Go’ by Christina Rossetti

Miss Me But Let Me Go

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?

Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love 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 part of the master 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 sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me, but let me go.

© Christina Rossetti

We would love to hear from you! What poems etc. would you like to have read at your funeral? Comment on our Facebook page so we can add some more options to our library.