Losing a parent may be one of the most challenging things you will ever go through in life. In fact, you may feel your parents’ loss for the rest of your life.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Funeral Poems for Dad from a Daughter
- Funeral Poems for Dad from a Son
- Funeral Poems for a Dad from a Mother
You might struggle to find the words to offer an appropriate tribute to your dad. How do you put into words all that he did for you? How do you tell others how special your dad was? What can you say to others so that they can understand your devastation?
Poets and songwriters have been trying to describe fatherhood for centuries in funeral poems. Here are some you may want to consider.
Funeral Poems for Dad from a Daughter
The relationship between a dad and his daughter can be very special. Here are some poems that attempt to describe this connection. Some are appropriate for a funeral and others, you may choose to read on your father’s death anniversary.
1. “To Her Father with Some Verses” by Anne Bradstreet
Anne Bradstreet is considered the first published poet in America. She chose to include a few verses about her father in her collection. Her verses explain that she cannot repay all that her father has done for her.
You may feel the same about your father and would like to honor him with this poem.
2. “Talking to My Father Whose Ashes Sit in a Closet and Listen” by Lisa Zaran
Take a moment to read “Talking to My Father Whose Ashes Sit in a Closet and Listen.” The poet says, “Death is not the final word,” and she imagines “him drawing a breath, sensing / his lungs once again filling with air, his thoughts ballooning.”
You may have known your dad so well that you know what his response would have been even after he’s gone.
3. “Father” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born in 1850 and is best known for the line, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone.” She wrote the poem “Father” about a hard-working man who “never made a fortune or a noise / In the world where men are seeking after fame.”
The everyman deserves celebration, and this poem will help you give honor to your “everyman” father.
4. “A Successful Man” by Bessie Anderson Stanley
Bessie Anderson Stanley was a Midwestern poet who wrote “A Successful Man.” This poem describes a successful man as one who “lived well, laughed often, and loved much.”
Her words have often been falsely attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson and other well-known poets. Make sure Stanley receives the recognition she deserves if you choose to use this at your father’s services.
Funeral Poems for Dad from a Son
It’s sometimes hard to put into your own words how you feel about your parents. Often, these relationships are complicated. Here are some poems you may consider using if you are planning a funeral. Some of the poems include lofty language that one would expect at a funeral and others describe mundane activities like fishing or removing a splinter.
5. “The Old Man’s Comforts and How He Gained Them” by Robert Southey
This poem would have been known to English children in the early 1800s. In it, the speaker, perhaps the man’s son, interviews an older man about how he has maintained exceptional health into his old age. The old man answers each question with a cautionary tale about the importance of clean living in body and mind.
This poem could be used as a tribute to a father who enjoys good health in the later years of life.
6. “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden
You probably read “Those Winter Sundays” in your high school English class. The poem is about the countless tasks fathers do for their families.
This poem could be used as an homage to a man who used actions more than words to show how much he cared.
7. “The Gift” by Li-Young Lee
What is the “gift” that Li-Young Lee’s father gives to him? At first glance, a reader would think this poem is about the removal of a splinter.
Although the speaker uses his father’s technique to gently remove a splinter from his wife’s hands years later, he realizes that his father’s gift was more important than that. His father taught him to train himself to see past fear and pain.
8. “A Boy and His Dad” by Edgar Guest
Did you and your father enjoy fishing together? If you did, you would surely feel connected with the poem “A Boy and His Dad.” In this poem, the speaker describes the time of “glorious fellowship” that he and his father spent together on a boat fishing.
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Funeral Poems for a Dad from a Mother
You learn a great deal about your partner when you work together to raise children. You may discover hidden talents that surprise and delight you. He may show a strength that you didn’t know was possible. You might see a gentler side that you never saw before having kids.
Here are some funeral poems for the father of your children.
9. “Time Does Not Bring Relief” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
“Time Does Not Bring Relief” is a sonnet, which is a 14-lined poem with a particular rhyme scheme. In it, the speaker is frustrated at not having relief after losing a person very important to her.
Perhaps you feel this same sorrow upon the loss of your spouse.
10. “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Maybe you know that your husband wouldn’t want you to cry at his grave. Instead, perhaps he wants you to remember his memory with happiness and joy.
When we remember those who have gone before us, it helps keep their memory alive.
11. “When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou
American treasure Maya Angelou wrote these words to commemorate the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Although this poem was not written specifically to commemorate the loss of her father or husband, these words would be appropriate to read when a courageous man dies.
The ending stanza is so beautiful. Here are the words:
“And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”
12. “Afternoon in February” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
This poem doesn’t contain the most uplifting lines, but it may be appropriate to describe your feelings about the death of your loved one. In this poem, Longfellow describes how the cold, frozen earth can be compared to a mourner’s feelings.
13. “A Happy Man” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Your father or husband may have had the foresight to pre-plan for his funeral. He may have chosen this poem to be read at his funeral as a part of his eulogy.
American poet Edwin Arlington Robinson wrote this poem at the end of his life. In it, he reflects how blessed he was to have such a wonderful family.
Find the Right Funeral Poem for Dad
Planning the final services for your loved one can be extremely difficult. Hopefully, we’ve given you a resource to assist you in finding the right funeral poems for dad.
Even though you may not consider yourself a writer, those who attend your father’s funeral may want to hear your thoughts instead of those of a poet who never met your dad. Even if you don’t feel confident enough to share your words with others, write them down. Share them with those in your immediate family or tuck the words into a place that may be discovered after you are gone.