40+ Popular Funeral Poems for a Husband

Updated

There’s a lot to consider when planning a funeral for your husband. As you grieve, you need to find the energy and focus to write the obituary for your husband, choose an urn or burial plot, and select the music to play during the service. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

Let us help you with part of the process through funeral poems for a husband. Here are some verses that you could consider using for the service.

While some choose to print the text of a meaningful poem in the funeral program, others ask a family member or friend to read the poem as a part of the service. 

Funeral Poems for a Husband and Father or Grandfather

If the man you lost was not only a husband but also a father or grandfather, there might be other family members who want a hand in choosing the poem. Here are some funeral poems that could be used for a myriad of relationships.

1. “Not Forgotten” by Toi Derricotte

In this poem, a man leans over his father’s grave and cuts away the overgrown grass so that his father’s name can be seen. It’s common for people to worry that others will forget their loved ones, and that’s why many work hard to keep the memories of the deceased alive. 

2. “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden

You may not appreciate all your father does for you until you’re an adult. The speaker in the poem realizes how cold it must have been when his father arose early to get the fire started in the house, so everyone else would be comfortable when it was time to get out of bed. 

3. “Cold Calls” by Edward Hirsch

Like the previous poem, the speaker in “Cold Calls” describes how his father worked hard throughout his life with little thanks. In this poem, the father was a box salesman, and after he died, his son stood at his grave “and raved in silence to no one.”

4. “Bereavement” by Kevin Young

The speaker in this poem describes how his father’s dogs grieve the loss of their master. The speaker envies the dogs that they seem to be getting over the sadness that resulted from the death. 

5. “You Don’t Miss Your Water” by Cornelius Eady

This autobiographical poem looks like a prose piece, but it describes the poet’s complicated relationship with his father. You may find this poem helpful if you also had a complicated relationship with your dad. It may also inspire you to write about your own experiences. 

6. “Inarticulate Grief” by Richard Aldington

Some families encourage stoic behavior following the death of a loved one. This poem is about the importance of letting yourself experience grief. It describes grief as a tumultuous ocean that is “the cry of our sorrow.”

7. “Alive” by Winifred Mary Letts

“Alive” inspires survivors to live with passion following the death of a loved one. It begins:

“Because you live, though out of sight and reach,
I will, so help me God, live bravely too.” 

Continuing with life may be extremely difficult after a loss, but most people say they want that for their family and friends after they are gone. 

8. “Warm Summer Sun” by Mark Twain

This poem seems atypical of the celebrated humorist, but it would be a beautiful, fitting poem to read at the graveside of your husband. It ends,

“Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.”

ยป MORE: Keep a loved one's memory alive by creating a diamond from their ashes.

 

Funeral Poems for a Husband Without Children

Obviously, “father” or “daddy” poems won’t work for a man who didn’t have children. Here are some funeral poems that make no mention of children. They could also be used as you write the eulogy for your husband

9. “A Song” by Joseph Brodsky

The refrain “I wish you were here, dear” is often repeated in this poem by Joseph Brodsky. While some poems use flowery language to describe grief and death, this simply-written poem describes a person sitting on a porch sipping a beer while wishing her spouse were there, too.

10. “The Dead” by Billy Collins

This is another poem that doesn’t use flowery language to talk about death. In it, the poet describes how he views death. Instead of his loved one floating on clouds, he sees them looking down through “the glass-bottom boats of heaven as they row themselves slowly through eternity.” 

11. “No Man is an Island” by John Donne

You’ll recognize the final lines of this poem: “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” This poem would be a good choice for the funeral of a man who never had children because it describes how each person is part of something bigger than himself. 

12. “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley

This powerful poem would be the perfect one to use for a man who weathered many storms with dignity and courage. It ends, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

13. “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden

This poem gained popularity when it was used in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” The speaker describes how odd it feels that life continues normally for others after his loved one dies. 

14. “Farewell My Friends” by Rabindranath Tagore

This poem makes no mention of children and would be appropriate for anyone looking for a relatively upbeat funeral poem. It includes all of the euphemistic phrases that people often take comfort from at a funeral, including

“No, shed no tears
For I need them not
All I need is your smile.”

15. “Crossing the Bar” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Consider the poem “Crossing the Bar” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. In it, a person describes death as a journey by boat. The speaker is hopeful that they will “see my Pilot face to face when I have crost the bar.”

16. “When I am dead, my dearest” by Christina Rosetti

Most people choose to use “Remember” by Christina Rosetti as a funeral poem, but this option might be fitting for someone who doesn’t believe in life after death. The speaker in the poem asks for no sad songs to be played at the funeral and no roses to be brought to his grave. 

Funeral Poems for a Husband With a Deceased Spouse

You may find yourself planning the funeral for a father, uncle, or friend who previously lost a spouse. Here are some poems to consider using at his funeral. You may also be interested in other online resources, such as free funeral program templates

17. “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

This often-used poem is somewhat melancholy, which gives it an appropriate tone for use at a funeral. It describes the second law of thermodynamics that says that eventually, everything breaks down into a more disordered state. 

18. “Remember” by Christina Rossetti

The speaker in this often-used poem is deceased. In it, he asks to be remembered, but only with a smile. 

19. “His Stillness” by Sharon Olds

In this poem, the speaker describes how her father accepts a grim diagnosis from a doctor with calmness and dignity. The poem ends, “At the end of his life, his life began to wake in me.”

20. “Let Me Go” by Christina Rossetti

The speaker in the poem is deceased and reminds those he left behind that life needs to continue. The speaker leaves the instruction to “laugh at all the things we used to do. Miss me, but let me go.”

21. “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Frye’s poem is a series of instructions from the dead. In it, mourners are told to look for their loved ones in the beauty found in nature instead of in cemeteries.

22. “I Am Standing Upon the Seashore” by Henry Van Dyke

One of our favorite funeral poems (and one of the most popular) is this one by Henry Van Dyke. In it, the speaker describes watching a ship set sail (symbolizing death) and hearing someone say, “She is gone!” as the boat disappears over the horizon.

The speaker surmises that on the other side, someone is standing on a shore saying, “Here she comes!” The final line says: “And that is dying.”

23. “Once Our Life On Earth is Over” by Unknown

This short poem would be appropriate to include in a funeral program of someone who had a deceased spouse. It speaks of reuniting in Heaven with our loved ones, and what a joyous day it will be when that happens. 

24. “A Happy Man” by Edward Arlington Robinson

This sweet, rhyming poem is about a person who had a great life and leaves with no regrets. The rhyming couplet that ends the poem reads, “Leave me to my quiet rest 

In the region of the blest.”

Religious Funeral Poems for a Husband

If you would like a religious poem but would rather not use text from scripture, here are some to consider.

25. “I thank you God for most this amazing” by E.E. Cummings

The speaker in this poem is deceased, and he describes, in almost a breathless, incredulous manner, how much more vibrant nature’s beauty is after death. He can’t imagine how someone can not believe in God after having the experience.

The poem states, “how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any — lifted from no of all nothing — human being doubt unimaginable You?”

26. “Ice Storm” by Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden was a prolific American poet. He describes being able to continue with life after losing someone in this poem called “Ice Storm.” The speaker sees trees bending under the “glassy weight” of an ice storm, and he knows they will survive. As he reflects on the tree’s survival, the speaker asks himself, “and am I less to You, my God, than they?”

27. “Listen Lord: A Prayer” by James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson was the first African American to hold the office of executive secretary of the NAACP. He was a prolific writer, and many of his pieces celebrated black expressive culture. This poem is meant to be read out loud by a powerful speaker. 

28. “Let Evening Come” by Jane Kenyon

This is another poem that speaks to survivors. In it, the speaker promises that even though the night is approaching, “God does not leave us comfortless.”

29. “Notes from the Other Side” by Jane Kenyon

A deceased person describes heaven in “Notes from the Other Side.” Instead of using typical imagery to describe the afterlife, the speaker celebrates the things that aren’t in heaven. The list includes “no bad books, no plastic, no insurance premiums, and of course no illness.”

30. “A Psalm of Life (What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist)” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This optimistic poem reminds us that even though death is approaching, we have time to contribute much to the world. It includes the stanza, 

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime, 
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.”

31. “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” by Dylan Thomas

Although each stanza of this poem speaks about having dominion over death in differing circumstances, its overall theme is that life continues after death in the form of the afterlife. This poem refers to a verse mentioned in the Book of Romans. 

32. “There is No Night Without a Dawning” by Helen Steiner Rice

This poem speaks about the promise of an afterlife. It includes the lines, 

“For those who leave us for a while 
Have only gone away 
Out of a restless, care worn world
Into a brighter day.”

Funeral Poems for a Husband From a Partner or Spouse

Perhaps you wish to express your sorrow during your partner’s or spouse’s funeral, but you can’t come up with the perfect words. If so, it’s understandable. Many people in grief report having brain fog in the days, weeks, or months following the death of a loved one.

Let us help you find the right words to express what you feel by providing you with a poem to read. We hope you find one that describes how you are feeling. 

33. “The Widow’s Lament in Springtime” by William Carlos Williams

This is not a happy or hopeful poem, but it may describe how you feel following the loss of your husband. It describes a widow facing life after losing her husband of 35 years and how she would like to “fall into those flowers and sink into the marsh near them.”

34. “You Just Walked On Ahead of Me” by Joyce Grenfell

This poem will undoubtedly cause people to cry if you read it at your partner’s or spouse’s funeral. In simple words and phrasing, the speaker describes trying to cope after the death. The last three lines read,

“Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.”

35. “He is Gone” by David Harkins

While some funeral poems are about the grief that follows a death, this one celebrates a life well-lived. It can be read or printed with either the words “she” or “he.” The poem begins with the line,

“You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived.”

36. “Love Shines Through” by Unknown

This short poem speaks about how love still exists “in the shadow of our sorrow.” It doesn’t specifically talk about death, so it may be easier to read this poem out loud than others that are obviously funeral poems. 

37. “Fare Thee Well” by Lord Byron

If you search for this poem online, you will find a lengthy poem that may not describe the death of your beloved. With a bit of editing, this poem could make a moving and lovely tribute to the love you experienced with your husband. 

Consider reading the section beginning, 

“Fare thee well! and if forever,
Still forever, fare _thee well_,
Even though unforgiving, never
‘Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.”

38. “God Saw You” by Unknown

Did your loved one suffer before they died? This poem may give you comfort, especially if you are a person of faith. It describes death as a way to relieve pain, especially following a long battle with a difficult illness.

39. “I carry your heart with me” by E.E.Cummings

This romantic poem does not mention death, but it would be appropriate to use it as a funeral poem. The poet e.e.cummings was known for his lack of structural conformity. You will notice that he uses capital letters sparingly in his poetry.

40. Irish Blessing

While this blessing/poem isn’t particularly romantic, it may be appropriate if your loved one was proud of his Irish heritage. You will recognize the beginning lines: 

“May the roads rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon fields.”

It’s Hard to Find the Right Words 

We understand how difficult it is to find the right words to describe the person you lost. In the fog that often accompanies grief, forming coherent thoughts may feel impossible. Depend on poets and songwriters to help you explain how you feel during these difficult moments in life. 

Even though many rely on the words of others when choosing texts to read at a funeral, you may consider spending an afternoon writing about your memories of the grandfather, father, or spouse that you lost.

Write about his likes and dislikes and what you can remember about his history. Future generations will appreciate having a written record that describes the everyday details of their ancestors, and you’ll be comforted to know that his memory is preserved. 

If you’re looking for more funeral poem ideas, read our guides on gone but not forgotten poems and rainbow bridge poems.

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