Reading poems at funerals and memorial services is becoming increasingly common. There are many famous poems that can be used as a reference for those who find themselves in the position of needing to speak publicly during a time of great sorrow.
Many people fear public speaking even under the best circumstances. When someone is called upon to speak publicly during a time of soul-wrenching grief, the task is even more difficult. Relying on a reading of famous poetry can not only serve as a fitting tribute to a beloved family member, but can also help a speaker to find the right words to convey a moving and inspirational message at a difficult time.
One beautiful poem that is well suited for a funeral or memorial service is “Miss Me – But Let Me Go” by Edgar Albert Guest. This poem is written from the perspective of the deceased, and is to be read as if the deceased is addressing the mourners.
This poem conveys the message that the deceased has the very human desire to be loved, valued, and missed after death. However, he or she is not so selfish as to wish that loved ones who are left behind have their lives crippled by sorrow.
The deceased requests a brief period of mourning, but ultimately encourages peaceful acceptance of death as a natural part of life that we will all experience. Death is presented as a necessary step in our journey to everlasting happiness. This poem is perfect for an assembly of people who gather briefly to attend a service to honor a loved one, knowing that normal routines of life must resume at the conclusion of the service.
The poem concludes with words of advice for the mourners who must now go their separate ways. The deceased tells the assembly that in the future, if their hearts are afflicted because of a sense of loss, they are to seek the company of mutual friends. They are instructed to honor the memory of their beloved by channelling their sorrowful energy into doing good deeds. It is a beautiful, deeply moving masterpiece.
Another wonderful poem to honor a deceased loved one is “Because He Lived” by Edgar Albert Guest. This short poem is only sixteen lines long, and conveys the message that a small corner of the world is a better place because of the life of the deceased.
This poem refers to how the deceased brought a smile to the face of a child, tended a flower bed that was enjoyed by his neighbors, and offered a kind and generous gesture to a person in need. His kindness inspired others to live better lives.
It is immediately obvious that the deceased is not a famous person who did extraordinary things, but an average person who generously shared simple gestures of kindness and joy. This poem is appropriate to honor the many people who lived quietly and anonymously, but who demonstrated goodness and decency throughout their lives.
Both of these poems are masterpieces that are appropriate for funerals. The best poem for a funeral, however, is one that the speaker feels comfortable reading in public during a time of sorrow.