An important part of a funeral service, along with the choice of music, is the choice of poetry and readings. While these are being read it is a time for the mourners to reflect on their loved one’s life and think about the memories they shared together. The choice of readings is also a way to personalise the funeral to that individual and a great way to remember them by.
Traditionally, the readings at funerals were religious and included extracts from the Bible or reading of Psalms. This is still often the case, however increasingly people are just as likely to include a non-religious reading or poem, or remove all religious elements.
There is an endless sea of options for you to choose from which of course can be overwhelming, so we have compiled a few of the most popular readings to help provide some inspiration. When you are faced with a bereavement and have to speak at a funeral, we know it can be hard to find the right words to say how much you loved that person and how you feel now they are gone. A poem or short reading can often help us express what we are feeling in a beautiful way and help us to find the words we were struggling to find.
Where to start
- Would you like passages from the Bible or Psalms?
- Did your loved one have a favourite poem?
- Did your loved one have a favourite book or author?
- Do they have a favourite song?
Popular non-religious poems include:
- All is Well / Death is Nothing At All – Henry Scott Holland
- Let Me Go – Christina Rosetti
- Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep – Mary Fryre
- Remember – Christina Rosetti
- She/He is Gone – David Harkins
- Remember Me – David Harkins
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night – Dylan Thomas
- Funeral Blues – WH Auden
- Today is a Gift – Laszlo Kotro-Kosztandi
Here are a few of the most popular religious options:
- Psalm 23 – The Lord is My Shepherd
- John 14.1-6
- 1 Corinthians 15
- John 6.35-40
- John 11.17-27
- Ecclesiastes 3
- Isaiah 25.7-9
Passages from books
Here are just a couple of extracts from books which are poignant and are popular choices for funeral readings.
Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne
“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remember… You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we are apart, I’ll be with you.”
Charlotte’s Web by EB White
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what is a life anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven know anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
Songs as readings
There are many songs out there where the lyrics are so beautiful, and they are equally as impactful when read as poetry. Here a few examples:
- Candle in the Wind by Elton John
- You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and the Pacemakers
- Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
We hope that you have found these ideas helpful. If you – or someone you know – has recently lost someone close and you have concerns about aspects of planning a funeral, please contact Cravens Funerals.
Our compassionate and professional team have years of experience creating funerals that are completely unique to the individual and respectful of the circumstances involved. For help and advice please contact us on 0151 228 3900 or leave us a message through our contact us page by clicking here.