Please don’t misunderstand this article’s title. We will not be giving you a list of mean-spirited poems that celebrate a person’s death. Instead, we will be giving you some ideas for poems that celebrate a life well-lived.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Happy Funeral Poems for Mom or Grandma
- Happy Funeral Poems for Dad or Grandpa
- Happy Funeral Poems for a Child
- Happy Funeral Poems for a Sibling
- Happy Funeral Poems for a Partner or Spouse
- Happy Funeral Poems for a Friend
Some of the poems on our list are uplifting because they refer to the promise of an afterlife. These poems will appeal to those who believe in the assurance of salvation. Others may also have themes that rejoice that the deceased is now free from pain.
Before selecting a poem for your loved one’s funeral, please read our entire list. After all, most of the poems could be located under any category.
Happy Funeral Poems for Mom or Grandma
Are you celebrating the life of the matriarch of your family? Here are some uplifting funeral poems to consider. You might also want to search for a non-death poem that describes the characteristics of an amazing mom.
1. “Sometime” by May Riley Smith
Perhaps you feel that the death of your loved one was the result of a senseless tragedy, leaving you wondering why bad things happen to good people. This poem addresses that age-old question. The last stanza reads,
“And if, through patient toil, we reach the land
Where tired feet, with sandals loosed, may rest,
When we shall clearly see and understand,
I think that we shall say, ‘God knew the best.’”
2. “Courage” by Jane Sayre
Sometimes people select a funeral poem based on the habits or hobbies of those who died. This poem describes life through the act of weaving. It begins,
“She strung a warp of courage
Upon her loom of days,
And wove her love in cross threads
Of gratitude and praise.”
3. “Evening” by Charles Simic
Although this may not necessarily be a “happy” funeral poem, it is one about peace and simplicity.
The central stanza of this poem says,
“Let all be simple. Let all stand still
Without a final direction.
That which brings you into the world
To take you away at death
Is one and the same:
The shadow long and pointy
Is its church.”
Happy Funeral Poems for Dad or Grandpa
Are you grieving the loss of a dad or a papa? Here are some poems that might give you a bit of solace in your time of fresh grief.
4. “Kinship” by Mamie Roehrig
Those who are comforted with the idea of Heaven will enjoy this poem by Mamie Roehrig. The speaker in the poem speaks of feeling sorrow, but then . . .
“Then I look up, and silently,
The stars of heaven comfort me.
In all their awesome majesty
These symbols of eternity
Speak words of courage to my soul,
And suddenly, I am made whole.”
5. “Father” by Ted Kooser
This poem is dated May 19, 1999, and begins,
“Today you would be ninety-seven
If you had lived.”
The poem, written by the son, describes the difficulties and pain of aging. The son expresses gratitude that his father was spared the challenges of the aging process.
We also love the list of things that the son misses about his dad. They include,
“The heartbeat under your necktie, the hand cupped on the back of my neck, Old Spice in the air, your voice delighted with stories.”
While this poem certainly wouldn’t make the list of funny funeral poems, we like how this poem gives a positive slant to dying in your prime.
6. “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden
If you are like most people, you probably overlooked the sacrifices your dad made to make your family comfortable. This famous poem by Robert Hayden describes how his dad would wake up early
“And put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
Then with cracked hands that ached
From labor in the weekday weather made
Banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.”
Happy Funeral Poems for a Child
Finding a “happy” funeral poem to use at a child’s funeral may feel like an impossible task. After all, there’s little to celebrate when a life is taken too soon.
7. “Day Lilies” by Hilda Butler Farr
The lily has significance on several levels. Not only is it commonly associated with funeral services, but it also has an added importance of being associated with purity – like the innocence of a child.
This poem is about the beauty of the flower that gives happiness to the beholder – but only for a brief time. The last stanza reads,
“A life so brief
That gives so much,
And brings to earth
A heavenly touch.”
8. “After the Rain” by Mabel Reed Wilson
Those of Christian faith may appreciate this poem that speaks of God’s promises – even after a moment of pain or tragedy. However, be mindful that this poem may not offer solace in every situation. This poem concludes:
“Everywhere God’s radiant beauty
Sparkles after the storm.”
Happy Funeral Poems for a Sibling
In most cases, your siblings are your first friends. They understand you like no one else, so losing a brother or sister may be especially difficult.
Here are some positive-minded funeral poems for a sibling’s funeral.
9. “The Golden Side” by Mary A. Kidder
Although it is not necessarily recommended that you tell someone in mourning to “look on the bright side of life,” you may, in fact, feel some happiness with this reminder. This poem ends:
“There was never a night without a day
Nor an evening without a morning;
And the darkest hour, the proverb goes,
Is the hour before the dawning.”
10. “To a Sundial” by Mandy Gerig
Did your sibling have a positive outlook on life? Celebrate this gift by sharing this poem, which may remind you of your sibling’s life philosophy.
The poem begins,
“Engraved beneath an old sundial
Of simple weather-aged design
Are found these words . . . I pause and smile,
‘I only mark the hours that shine.’”
Happy Funeral Poems for a Partner or Spouse
Perhaps you and your partner shared a favorite poem or song. If so, this might make the perfect selection to share at their funeral.
If not, here are some other poems that celebrate your happy union.
11. “A Moment to Remember” by Alice Kennelly Roberts
This poem describes that perfect moment “when all the world is harmony . . . A peaceful, perfect, wondrous whole.” Perhaps this moment was experienced as you spent time in nature. Or maybe you felt this perfection the first time you encountered your partner. Nevertheless, that “moment to remember” is worth celebrating.
12. “i thank you God for this most amazing” by e.e. cummings
The poet e.e. cummings received a lot of praise from critics for his unique style. The second stanza explains that the speaker of this poem is deceased. It reads:
(i who have died am alive again today,
And this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
Day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
Great happening illimitably earth)
Happy Funeral Poems for a Friend
Many people turn to poetry and verse when suffering the loss of a good friend. Even if you’re not responsible for selecting a funeral poem for your friend, you might appreciate reading some of these selections as you navigate grief.
13. “Immortality” by Gail Elder James
Did your loved one enjoy flowers? If so, you might be reminded of your friend every time you see a bloom. Here’s a poem that describes that experience. It begins:
“I looked into the face of a flower,
Its honeyed fragrance filled the air,
And lo, within its glowing heart
My soul reached out and found you there.”
14. “Notes from the Other Side” by Jane Kenyon
Perhaps you are tired of funeral poems that include platitudes and predictable rhyme schemes. If so, consider “Notes from the Other Side.” The entirety of this poem reads,
“I divested myself of despair
And Fear when I came here.
Now there is no more catching
One’s own eye in the mirror,
There are no bad books, no plastic,
No insurance premiums, and of course
No illness. Contrition
Does not exist, nor gnashing
Of teeth. No one howls as the first
Clod of earth hits the casket.
The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,
And God, as promised, proves
To be mercy clothed in light.
15. “Coda” by Jason Shinder
This poem begins with the line, “And now I know what most deeply connects us.” It ends with the answer: “That you’re my friend out here on the far reaches of what humans can find out about each other.”
Funeral Poems Don’t Have to Make You Cry
While some families may choose a sad poem for their loved one’s funeral, this isn’t a necessity. Instead, feel free to select a poem that makes people smile.
Turn to Cake for all of your funeral-planning needs. You can also learn more about funeral practices (such as Buddhist funeral traditions), estate planning, and how to offer sympathy to a grieving family.