Discover 10 non-religious poems to read at a funeral, including Humanist funeral poems and non-religious funeral readings.
Reading a poem has become a popular part of a funeral service. Sometimes it’s easier to use someone else’s words, when it feels impossible to express how you’re feeling.
Now that non-religious and Humanist funerals are becoming more popular, you might be looking for the perfect non-religious funeral poem to pay tribute to your loved one.
Or maybe you’re thinking about how you want to be remembered and you want a poem to be read at your funeral that isn’t a traditional Christian funeral reading or verse. When you buy an Avalon funeral plan, you can make a note of special requests such as poems and songs and we’ll pass these on to your nominated funeral director when the time comes.
Here are 10 beautiful and moving non-religious funeral poems that are perfect for a secular funeral service.
1. Afterglow – Unknown
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;
Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
2. She is Gone – David Harkins
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
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 her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on/
3. Farewell – Anna Bronte
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.
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4. For Katrina’s Sun Dial – Henry Van Dyke
Time is too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice,
But for those who love, time is
5. Remember Me – Margaret Mead
To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea – remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty – remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity – remember me.
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, your memories of the times we loved,
The times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.
6. The Comfort and Sweetness of Peace – Helen Steiner Rice
After the clouds, the sunshine,
after the winter, the spring,
after the shower, the rainbow,
for life is a changeable thing.
After the night, the morning,
bidding all darkness cease,
after life’s cares and sorrows,
the comfort and sweetness of peace.
7. Untitled – Ruth Burgess
Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go
Into the dance of the stars and the planets
We let you go
Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star maker
We let you go
We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy
Go safely, go dancing, go running home
8. A Song of Living – Amelia Josephine Burr
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leaped with the rain,
I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheek like a drowsy child
to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life,
I shall have no sorrow to die.
9. I Carry Your Heart – 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).
10. All That Was Her – Oliver Wright
Where’s she gone, the one we knew,
The one we knew and loved,
Who knew us all and loved us all –
Where now is all that love?
Where now her smile? Where now her frown?
Her bright, resounding laugh?
Ah, all are gone, by time undone;
All that was her is past.
Down the stream we drifted,
And saw her on the shore;
Around a bend we drifted,
And saw her then no more.
And yet still she stands there
Still stands beside the shore.
If you’re thinking about what kind of funeral you’d like and how you want to be remembered, find out how an Avalon funeral plan lets you make important decisions in advance.
About the author
With a Masters from the University of Bristol, Jessica Hanson has worked in the funeral sector for several years, following the latest industry trends and writing about end of life planning. Jessica has previously written as a blogger for the Huffington Post, covering topics such as death positivity, understanding grief and how funerals are changing. You can find Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.