Poems for Funerals

grafici trading in tempo reale The right poem can be just the thing to set the tone, be it sombre or uplifting. Even if the deceased wasn’t a lover of poetry, I find that the mourners appreciate a carefully chosen work. I am always happy when the family is able to choose poetry, but I am also more than content to make suggestions when not.

At a funeral for a man who loved sailing and had once remarked that he would like to be buried at sea, I chose the following poem by John Masefield to make up for the fact that we weren’t setting out onto the ocean:


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When someone has lived a long life, their death is of course sad but it’s natural and expected. When a child dies, it is hard to come to terms with. Finding the right words can be difficult. When my own son died, we chose this poem by Ben Jonson, and it is quite a favourite at funerals for the young:

It is not growing like a tree

In bulk, doth make man better be;

Or standing long an oak, three-hundred year,

To fall a log at last, dry, bald and sere.

A lily of a day,

Is fairer far in May,

Although it droop and die that night,

It was the plant and flow’r of light.

In small proportions we just beauties see;

And in short measures, life may perfect be.

One of my own personal favourites is this, from Salvatore Quasimodo:


Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
trafitto da un raggio di sole:
ed e subito sera

(Everyone stands alone at the heart of the world,
transfixed by a ray of sunlight,
and suddenly it’s evening)

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