The right words may be hard to find when you want to say goodbye. You may want to request that a special poem be read at your funeral, or your loved ones may be looking for the perfect words to guide them through the hard times ahead.
Just looking through our selection of Poetry may help you express what you can’t put into words yourself. Or have a listen to archived broadcasts of Radio 4’s programme “Poetry Please”, which regularly presents listeners’ favourite poems. See Radio 4 Poetry Please and books from the series.
Some of our favourite poems are quoted below, but plenty more are available on our resources page.
Feel no Guilt in Laughter (Anon)
Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that he’s not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you, a word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever, locked safely within your heart.
This verse was read at the funeral of a dear Major-General friend recently, who started his forces life in the navy and ever loved the sea. A fitting tribute I think:
I Must Down to the Seas : John Masefield, Poet Laureate (1878 – 1967)
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
A brief and moving sentiment to end:
If I Should Go Tomorrow (Anon)
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.