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Readings for Funerals

There are many hundreds of readings and poems from literature and religion that are appropriate at funerals.

Popular readings for funerals, compiled by Barrie Mason

I've collected some of the more popular readings for you here.  Please feel free to call me on 09-489-6288 for others you may know of, or from my wider collection. Or, click here for email enquiries .

Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion

- Dylan Thomas (1914-53)

Something Beautiful Remains

The tide recedes
But leaves behind
Bright shells on the seashore

The sun goes down
But gentle warmth
Still lingers on the land

The music stops and yet
It lingers on in sweet refrains –

For every joy that passes
Something beautiful remains

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind blow always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand


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.
Remember me when no more day by day,
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far your should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christine Rossetti

A Life Well Lived

A life well lived is a precious gift
Of hope and strength and grace,
From someone who has made our world
A brighter, better place

It’s filled with moments, sweet and sad
With smiles and sometimes tears,
With friendships formed and good times shared
And laughter through the years.

A life well lived is a legacy
Of joy and pride and pleasure,
A living, lasting memory
Our grateful hearts we’ll treasure

A Measure of A Man

The measure of a man is not determined
By his show of outward strength
Or the volume of his voice
Or the thunder of his actions
Or of his intellect or academic abilities

It is seen rather in terms of the love that he has
For his family and for everyone
The strength of his commitments
The genuineness of his friendships
The sincerity of his purpose
The quiet courage of his convictions

The fun, laughter, joy and happiness he gives to his
family and to others

His love of life
His patience and his honesty
And his contentment with what he has

- Grady Poulard

If you were here I know you would say,
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 star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there I did not die.

Death is Like a Doorway

Death is like a doorway
I have just slipped away 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 of me in the easy way you always used,
Putting no difference into your tone.
Laugh, as we always laughed
At the jokes we enjoyed together

Play, smile, think of me.
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
Somewhere very near – just around the corner
All is well with me.

(an adaption)


To him no monument of stone
Nor heraldic cries of achievement past
Just farewell, to see his ashes strewn
But in our sadness we will remember this –
His seeds in the flesh are set
And in our lives reflect
In his children and grandchildren
His endearing smile and good kind ways
His destiny fulfilled
And immortality assured
Until we meet again

Ad Dorotheum

Lest you be a dead man’s slave
Place a branch upon my grave.
Do not let your term of grief
Outlast the fall of its last leaf.

R. A. K. Mason

I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white clouds come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, “There!  She’s gone.”

Gone where?  Gone from my sight…that is all.  She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.  And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “There!  She’s gone.” – there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!”

Psalm 23
(A Psalm of David)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me;
Thy rod and they staff comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou anointest my head with oil;
My cup runeth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Indian Prayer

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much.
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it’s pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.

The Ode

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

The Long Day is Over

Feeling tired
By the fire
The long day is over

The wind is gone
Asleep at dawn
The embers burn down

With no reprise
The sun will rise
The long day is over

Norah Jones 2002

Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled;
Believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many rooms;
If it were not so,
Would I have told you that I go to
Prepare a place for you?
And when I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and take you to myself,
That where I am you may be also.
Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you;
Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled,
Neither let them be afraid.”

John 14

A Mother's Love

A Mother's love is something
that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away ...
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
and it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking ..
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems ...
It is far beyond defining,
and it defies all explanation,
and it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation ...
A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of Life's tender guiding hand.



With Love in your heart you always have time,
to share your feelings while mending mine.
These memories we have will endure forever,
I thank God for you and the times we treasure.


Home is a place which provides for me
Peace, love and harmony.
Belief in myself was instilted from the start
I thank God for parents that gave from their heart.


Through the years you've always been there,
With love between us beyond compare.
You gave direction and showed the way.
Making me the person I am today.


I like to walk with Grandma and Grandpa,
Their steps are short like mine.
They never say, "Now hurry up"
They always take their time.
Most people have to hurry, they never stop to see.
I'm so glad that God made grandparents
"Unrushed" and young like me.

You left us suddenly, your thoughts unknown.
You left us memories, we are proud to own.

God saw you growing weary
He did what He thought best

He put his arms around you
And whispered, "Time to rest"

What we bury deep
In the grave to sleep
Wrap of earth must be.
What we love
Abides above
All through eternity

Rudolf Steiner

Be glad of life because it gives you
the chance to love and to work and play,
and to took up at the stars

The Rose Beyond The Wall

Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
budded, and blossomed in God's free light,
watered and fed by morning dew,
shedding it's sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
slowly rising to loftier height,
it came to a crevice in the wall,
through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength,
with never a thought of fear or pride,
it followed the light in the crevice length,
and unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view,
were found the same as they were before,
and it lost itself in beauty's new,
breathing it's fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
and make our courage faint and fall,
no, let us faith and hope receive,
the rose still grows beyond the wall.

Scattering fragrance far and wide,
just as it did in days before,
just as it did on the other side,
just as it will for ever more.


Always a father, always a friend
wonderful someone on whom we depend
Sometimes a comforter, quietening fears
sometimes a banker when we're in arrears;
sometimes a mender of trolleys and bikes
sometimes a vigorous leader of hikes.
A teacher, a gardener, a plumber of sorts,
a barber, a chauffeur, an expert on sports;
a Jack-of-all-trades, as the old saying goes,
and loved and respected by more than he knows
Just a wonderful someone on whom we depend
always a father, always a friend.

You can shed tears that I have gone

You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can behappy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he has gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he'd want: smile,
open your eyes, love and go on.


The Ship Coming Into Port

In a harbour, two ships sailed;
one setting forth on a voyage,
the other coming home to port.
Everyone cheered the ship going out,
but the ship coming in was scarcely noticed.
To this, a wise man said:
"Do not rejoice over a ship setting out to sea for you cannot know
what terrible storms it may have to endure.
Rejoice, rather, over the ship that has safely reached port".
And this is the way of the world:
When a child is born, all rejoice;
when someone dies, all weep.
But should this always be so.
For no one can tell what trials and travails await a new born child;
but when a man dies in peace,
we should rejoice in our sadness for he has
completed his long journey.



If I ever have my statue
in the local Hall of Fame,
it must be for my prowess
at the Royal and Ancient Game.

A hole in one, an albatross,
or seven under par:
it's always been my aim in life
to be a golfing star.

So if, for just a moment,
you can set aside your sorrow,
God's given me the honour
in the Tournament tomorrow.
The greens are smooth, the bunkers small,
the rough is hardly there;
the only hazard I know of
is knowing what to wear.

No hook or slice or mangled shots,
- for those there isn't time.
The caddie puts my divots back;
the Pro will say that I'm
a legend in the world of golf.
- If proof is needed more,
just come onto the fairway now,
to hear me yell out: "Fore!"

- Norm Murray


Gone Fishin'

The weather's fine, the tides are right,
and all the time I'm wishin'
that nothing else will matter,
just as long as I'm out fishin'.

A leaky boat or rocky coast —
if it's my favourite spot
the busy world can pass me by
when fish are runnin' hot.

And if the catch is large or small
it doesn't really matter
as long as I can eat the lot —
smoked, fresh, or cased in batter....
The Great Beyond has endless seas
with no forbidden sectors,
or stormy days, or rotten luck, -
or fisheries inspectors.

Those little ones that got away
(to bend my rod were tryin')
I'll say were huge —
but I confess my mates
will know I'm lyin'.

So look for me from time to time,
and if you find me missin',
be happy that for evermore
I've only gone out fishin'.

- Norm Murray


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