Friday, December 29, 2006


Poems used in funerals

'Say not in grief 'he is no more' but live in thankfulness that he was' Hebrew proverb
'Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, which is why it is called the present'
'What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning'
'Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well' Buddist saying
'There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy' Mark Twain, The refuge of the Derelicts 1905
It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal.
The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.
It is not a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled. But it is a calamity not to dream.
It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, But it is a disaster to no ideal to capture.
It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars. But it is a disgrace not to have stars to reach for.
Not failure, but low aim is a sin. Dr Benjamin Elijah Mays 1894-1984

Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a 1,000 winds that blow I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sun on ripened grain I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled light 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. Anonymous

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 1847-1918 Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

A Child Loaned
"I'll lend you for a little time A child of Mine." He said. "For you to love the while he lives
And mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven year Or twenty-two or three But will you, till I call him back Take care of him for Me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you And should his stay be brief, You'll have his lovely memories
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay Since all from Earth return, But there are lessons taught down there
I want the child to learn.
I've looked this wide world over In my search for teacher's true, And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
I have selected you;
Now will you give him all your love, Nor think the labour vain Nor hate Me when I come to call
And take him back again?
I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, They will be done, For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
For the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness, We'll love him while we may, And for the happiness we've known,
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him Much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes And try to understand." Anonymous

High Flight
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of; wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air;
Up, up the long delirious burning blue I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark nor even eagle flew; And while, with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Fl. Officer John Gillespie McGee 1922-1941

Farewell to Thee! But not farewell To all my fondest thoughts of Thee;
Within my heart they still shall dwell And they shall cheer and comfort me.
Life seems more sweet that Thou didst live And men more true Thou wert one;
Nothing is lost that Thou didst give, Nothing destroyed that Thou hast done. Anne Bronte 1820-1849

Life Goes On
If I should go before the rest of you Break not a flower Nor inscribe a stone Nor when I am gone
Speak in a Sunday voice But be the usual selves That I have known
Weep if you must Parting is hell But life goes on So .... sing as well Joyce Grenfell 1910-1979

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.

If I should go tomorrow It would never be goodbye, For I have left my heart with you, So don't you ever cry.
The love that's deep within me, Shall reach you from the stars, You'll feel it from the heavens,
And it will heal the scars.

He 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 your back,
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on. Anonymous

I am standing on the sea shore, A ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her Till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says:
"She is gone." Gone! Where? Gone from my sight - that is all. She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination. The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "She is gone", There are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout: "There she comes" - and that is dying. An horizon and just the limit of our sight. Lift us up, Oh Lord, that we may see further. Bishop Brent 1862 - 1926

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 you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad. Christina Rossetti 183094

Death Be Not Proud
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost over throw Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure - then, from thee much more must flow;
And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men, And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well, And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more. Death thou shalt die. John Donne 1572-1631

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked not lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas 1914-53

But Not Forgotten
I think no matter where you stray, That I shall go with you a way. Though you may wander sweeter lands,
You will not forget my hands,
Nor yet the way I held my head Nor the tremulous things I said. You will still see me, small and white
And smiling, in the secret night, And feel my arms about you when The day comes fluttering back again. I think, no matter where you be, You'll hold me in your memory And keep my image there without me, By telling later loves about me. Dorothy Parker

Living Bouquets
When I quit this mortal shore And mosey 'round this earth no more,
Do not weep and do not sob; I may have found a better job.
Don't go and buy a large bouquet For which you'll find it hard to pay,
Don't mope around and feel all blue; I may be better off than you.
Don't tell the folks I was a saint Or any old thing that I ain't.
If you have jam like that to spread, Please hand it out before I'm dead.
If you have roses bless your soul, Just pin one in my buttonhole
While I'm alive and well today; Don't wait until I'm gone away. Mabeel Easley

Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road,
And the sun has set on me;
I want no rites in a gloom filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me little - but not for long,
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once 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’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 sorrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me - but let me go.

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