You can discover a treasure trove of poems by unknown authors online. Some of the poems address the topic of grief in a religious or spiritual way, while others are oriented in a secular direction. However, all of them are suitable to use for funeral or memorial services, or to read for your personal aid and comfort.
Bereavement Poems to Soothe Your Soul
These poems of bereavement can help express grief and bring healing. Poems can provide solace and familiarity with their soothing words and patterns. Dive into this mix of poetry and find the comfort your soul has been craving.
I Shall Miss You Most
I Shall Miss You Most is a short Japanese poem from the Manʼyōshū anthology, a collection of over 4,500 poems, some of which date back to the fifth century. In the style of many Japanese poems, I Shall Miss You Most speaks to the beauty and consistency of nature, comparing memories of a person who has passed to the fire and beauty of twilight as evening slowly falls. General in nature and nonreligious, the poem will comfort anybody who has lost a loved one, whether a family member, life partner, or friend.
So Go and Run Free
With its religious theme, So Go and Run Free is a medium-length poem that comforts the bereaved with its assurance of the dearly departed running free and dancing with the angels. The poem, appropriate for families who have lost a beloved member, acknowledges the lasting sense of loss a person feels when they lose a loved one, yet it gives comfort and hope with its assertion that love never dies. The poem's end is particularly poignant in its request to the angels to take good care of the one who has passed.
Feel No Guilt in Laughter
If you're looking for a nonreligious poem for a person who has lost a spouse or a life partner, you'll want to read Feel No Guilt in Laughter. The medium-length poem, written from the point of view of the person who has passed away, hastens to comfort the surviving spouse or partner and assure them it's okay to smile or laugh as they move forward with their life. Feel No Guilt in Laughter emphasizes the magical way in which a departed loved one can be brought close through cherished memories that live in one's heart.
If Tears Could Build a Stairway
If the pain of loss is fresh, you'll relate to If Tears Could Build a Stairway. This poem of five stanzas is filled with yearning for a loved one who has passed suddenly. The poem describes the hollow place in one's heart where the deceased will remain. Though the poem expresses the anguish of loss, it acknowledges the person who died would want you to remember them with joy for all the happy times you shared. The last stanza hits home the process of grief by showing that "A hollowed place within my heart is where you'll always stay." While the one you love is no longer in this world, they are forever found in your heart.
The Fallen Limb
The Fallen Limb builds on the metaphor of a family tree losing one of its beloved and sturdy limbs. Written from the point of view of the family member who has passed away, this concise poem urges the rest of the family to continue to cherish essential family traditions, thereby gathering the strength of the family tree. The Fallen Limb comforts bereaved family members by encouraging hope and fortitude until the time comes when everybody is together again.
You Never Said Goodbye
You Never Said Goodbye is a religious poem about the grief of losing a good friend or loved one without saying goodbye. However, this four stanza poem ends on a note of hope. It talks about how your loved one didn't leave alone, and a piece of your heart went with them. It hints at the prospect of one day you'll be together again.
If you're looking for a good poem about losing loved ones that applies to any circumstance or relationship, you'll want to check out This Heritage. A spiritual but nonreligious poem of five stanzas, it celebrates shared love as a heritage that continues forever as part of nature and the universe's eternal unfolding. The breath of the departed can still be felt in the fragrance of flowers, and their movements can be seen in how tree branches dance.
The Measure of a Man
The Measure of a Man, a short but insightful poem, provides comfort to the bereaved in its focus on the kind of life led by the departed loved one. Through the pain of loss, it can be helpful for you to recall the kind deeds performed by family members, life partners, or friends who have died. It points out that it's important to remember what matters in a person's life is not what can be seen from surface appearances, but the goodness with which the person enriched other people's hearts.
There Is No Death
As a spiritual but not religious poem of three stanzas, There Is No Death, gives a freeing definition of death as the soul no longer being confined by time or space. The poem acknowledges the sadness you feel at the passing of a loved one, but it tells you not to weep, since the soul of your dearly departed is at peace. Their love, kindness, and good deeds are immortal and will live forever as part of eternity's song.
Four Candles for You
If you're looking for a bereavement poem about coping with grief during a holiday season, you might like Four Candles for You. This spiritual but nonreligious, medium-length poem describes the lighting of four candles for a deceased loved one. The first candle recognizes the pain of loss and the depth of love. The second candle galvanizes courage to cope with the loss. The third candle calls to mind memories, while the fourth candle represents the light of love given and shared.
When I Am Gone
Many poems that address grief are written from the point of view of the deceased person, but this concise poem, When I Am Gone, offers an extra measure of solace by saying whenever a grieving person calls for his departed loved one, she will be near, even though she can't be seen or touched. This brief spiritual poem recommends you listen with your heart to experience the love poured out on you from dear people or pets who are no longer with you.
Think of Me as One at Rest
Think of Me as One at Rest is a gentle-spirited, nonreligious poem of three stanzas that comforts the bereaved with assurances their departed loved one is peacefully at rest, having made the most of their life on earth. Since life is short and nobody can stay forever, the best thing is to make peace with the fact that time and life will continue to unfold and the most important thing is loving and being loved.
Bereavement Poems by Lesser Known Authors
Poetry comes in all different varieties. Bereavement poems are no different. While you can find many great poems from unknown authors, it's worth your time to explore a few beautiful poems by lesser-known writers. These poems might be the spark you need to soothe your grief. They can also be a wonderful and lasting part of a eulogy.
Goodbye, My Friend by Karla Bonoff
Goodbye, My Friend is a nonreligious poem about the grief of losing a good friend. Since it's a secular poem, Goodbye, My Friend doesn't encourage the grieving person to focus on seeing the lost loved one again someday. Instead, the three-stanza poem, written from the point of view of the departed, seeks to wrap the grieving friend in the comfort provided by memories of good times shared in the friendship.
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me by David Romano
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me is a long religious poem of seventeen stanzas, comprised of four lines each. Written from the deceased's point of view, it is appropriate for family members, life partners, and dear friends. The person who has passed away tells their grieving loved ones to find comfort in knowing they're at home in the peace of heaven and will continue to live in the hearts of those who miss them.
I'm Free by Anne Lindgren Davison
If you like rhyming poems, you might be touched by I'm Free, a religious poem of five stanzas written from the point of view of the person who has died. The poem gives comfort to grieving loved ones by assuring them the deceased person found peace in God's hands at the end of their life. It's only natural to miss someone who has passed away, but the void can be filled with good memories and the "sunshine of tomorrow."
Let Me Go by Christina Georgina Rossetti
Written from the perspective of the deceased person, Miss Me but Let Me Go, urges surviving family, friends, and loved ones not to mourn in a "gloom-filled room" but to rejoice, their soul has been "set free." A religious poem of medium length, the poem uses wise and comforting words to remind you that life and death are a journey every single person must take, and people must bear these inevitable sorrows with forbearance, compassion, and goodwill. It also hints at the future where you will be together again, but in the meantime, visit the friends you have around you and remember the good times.
Afterglow by Helen Lowrie Marshall
For a short poem, Afterglow packs in lots of wisdom and solace. Its three brief stanzas speak to a person's desire to leave the legacy of a happy glow in the hearts of their loved ones at the end of their life. Written from the point of view of the person who has died, the poem uses sunshine imagery to illuminate happy memories and dry tears. This poem helps you see the glow your loved one left on your life, that even death can't extinguish.
God's Garden by Melissa Shreve
If you're looking for a touching religious poem about someone who died after an illness, you will want to check out God's Garden. This concise but tenderly written poem describes God taking a sick, suffering person in his arms, closing her "weary eyelids," and laying her to rest in his garden. It's a heartwarming tribute to someone that suffered from an illness before death.
Letter From Heaven by Ruth Ann Mahaffey
Letter From Heaven is a beautiful, comforting religious poem written from the point of view of the departed person to his grieving family. In this fairly lengthy poem of seven stanzas, the person who has died assures his loved ones he's closer to them than they could imagine, watching over them with love and care. When thinking of years you've shared with someone you love, tears will inevitably come, but as the poem points out, if there were no rain, there could be no flowers.
The poems that follow vary in length, tone, subject, and style. The first poem is nonreligious, the second poem is religious, and the third poem is spiritual but not religious.
By Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
Steadfast Love is appropriate for a woman who, while she was alive, filled multiple roles in the lives of her family and friends and brought joy through the sharing of her talents. Love and gifts shared have ripple effects that continue to spread outward and enrich people's lives even after a loved one is gone.
You were mother, wife, and friend,
Sister, daughter, grandma,
Artist, adventurer, dreamer.
Since love is forever,
You'll always be here,
Holding our hands
As we journey onward
Along life's winding roads,
Carrying forward your gifts
As lamps to light our way:
Your compassion and humor,
Your luminous creativity,
The light in your eyes,
Your caring touch,
Your musical laugh,
And the sterling example
Of your steadfast love.
Cloud of Witnesses
By Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
The most painful part of grief is knowing once a loved one has died, they won't be coming back. Cloud of Witnesses speaks to the eternal connection you share with those you love, a connection forged in God, which can never be broken and on which you may draw at any time for strength and sustenance.
When our loved ones pass on,
There are holes in our hearts in the shapes of those people
That in our grief, we think nothing could possibly fill.
But drawing on wisdom from the depths of our souls,
We can discern the truth.
Our dearly departed, following their earthly lives,
Become part of a luminous cloud of witnesses
Made up of all who have lived and loved,
Who have passed from this life
To become part of eternity.
We, too, are part of eternity,
Though our departed loved ones, joined with God, know much more.
For now, it is enough for us to know that this gentle cloud of witnesses
Surrounds us with love that can fill the holes in our hearts,
Staying closer to us than we can now understand.
Love Never Dies
By Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
Losing a parent is difficult at any age, whether you're young, middle-aged, or in your senior years. Parental love provides a solid foundation for your life, and when your parents die, it can be hard to find your footing again. Love Never Dies addresses the continuity of love and care given by your parents, which endures even after they are physically no longer with you.
It was your love that made me,
Your love that made me strong.
Now that you're no longer here,
Somehow, it all seems wrong.
You were my rock, my anchor,
It seemed you'd always be around.
But now that you have passed away,
Such sadness have I found.
Your guidance still instructs me, though,
Those lessons you would tell.
You might not have thought I listened,
But I listened very well.
Most of all, your actions
Set the example for my life
Of how to persevere with grace
Though joy and trials and strife.
So even though you're gone, I know
Your love will buoy me up
I'll keep you close in heart and soul
To overflow my cup.
Love never dies, they say,
Love endures forever.
And in each step of life I take,
We will remain together.
Coping With Loss
Though loss is painful, it's an inevitable part of life. When you're grieving, you can seek solace in many ways, whether spending time with people who understand, treating yourself gently and well, or finding inspiration and hope in poems that speak to your heart. The written word is powerful and can help you on your journey to find peace and acceptance in the wake of life's most difficult times.