17 Best Helen Steiner Rice Poems for a Funeral


Helen Steiner Rice is one of the most inspirational poets of the past century. Known as an “Ambassador of Sunshine,” she got her start by writing greeting cards. Though she led a life of hardship and personal tragedy, she never lost her optimism. Today, her work is some of the most influential funeral poems, helping families when they need it the most. 

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Poetry is one of the lenses through which we see the world. While understanding our feelings around death, grief, and loss is hard, expressing these feelings is a new challenge altogether. Through poetry, we borrow the words of the world’s greatest minds to express the feelings weighing our hearts and minds. 

Though known for her greeting cards, Helen Steiner Rice’s poetry lives on in the lives she touches with each work. Her inspirational works lift readers up from dark times, reminding us that we all have the power of positivity inside us. Whether you’re learning how to plan a memorial service or wish to dedicate a poem to a loved one, here are the best Helen Steiner Rice poems for a funeral.

Uplifting Helen Steiner Rice Funeral Poems

Rice was no stranger to tragedy. She first lost her father at a young age in the Spanish Influenza of 1918. Later, she lost her husband to suicide and became the sole breadwinner for her family. 

Despite these hardships, she never lost her hope for the future. These uplifting Helen Steiner Rice funeral poems are a reminder that brighter days are always closer than we think. 

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1. “There Is No Night Without a Dawning”

One of the most well-loved funeral poems, “There Is No Night Without a Dawning” is about the power of hope. Though times might be tough now, this only makes the happiness of the future even sweeter. As the saying goes, there is no night without dawn.

2. “God’s Messengers” 

Rice’s work commonly discusses her faith in God as a Christian. This poem reminds readers that God is always close, and you need only notice his many “messengers” throughout your life to see his interventions. 

3. “In God Is My Strength”

Another one of her more well-known works is “In God Is My Strength.” Through the love of God, Rice finds the strength to get through life’s biggest challenges. Though these tests we face each day might lead us to question our faith, we must trust that brighter days are always ahead. This is the peace that brings us forward. 

4. “Steppingstone” 

In this poem, Rice creates a brilliant metaphor through the image of stepping stones. Each decision you make is a stepping stone to something greater, something new. Though not all stepping stones are happy, they are a very real part of your journey. 

5. “Where There Is Love”

Love is the divine force behind everything. Rice finds love in every aspect of life, nature, and those she admires. Through this love, we can change “darkness into light.” To accept love into your life is to discover true peace on earth, no matter what comes your way.

6. “Look on the Sunny Side”

There are two sides to every experience. There’s a good side and a bad side. Rice encourages her readers to look at the cup as half-full. When you learn to look at life in this way, there is no such thing as bad days. Every day is an opportunity to do more and be better. 

Sorrowful Helen Steiner Rice Funeral Poems

While poems about death don’t have to be sad, some aren’t afraid to share real, raw emotions. Helen Steiner Rice was a poet who felt deeply, and she shared these true experiences in her work. These poems don’t just help families find peace, but they’re a reminder that you aren’t alone.

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7. “Death Opens the Door to Life Evermore” 

Though death is often a sad, intimidating experience, it is also an invitation to live life to the fullest. While we only live “a short while on earth below,” we have to keep our faith that death brings a new form of peace and strength. Though sad, there is also hopefulness to our mortality.

8. “The Bend in the Road.” 

Life is full of surprises, and it’s not always uplifting or fun. These are what Rice calls a “bend in the road.” Though “life’s crossroads” are often intimidating, they’re also a chance to “have faith in a brighter tomorrow.” What path will you choose?

9. “When I Must Leave You”

Nobody lives forever. There comes a time when everyone must depart and “leave” for a little while. Rice encourages her readers to not grieve or shed their tears. Instead, “start out bravely with a gallant smile” and live life in her honor. In doing so, she’s always with you.

10 “It Takes the Bitter and the Sweet to Make a Life Full and Complete” 

Life is all about comparisons and contradictions. You can’t have anything sweet without the bitter, and there are no low tides without the high. It’s up to you to accept these changes as a part of life. Through them, we find true faith and kindness. 

11. “Pathways”

Memories are like a pathway. They’re how we move forward. They wind through our hearts and minds, keeping things together when life seems to fall apart. You’ll meet others traveling there, and you’ll each come and go. However, it’s in these memories that we always live forever, no matter if death takes us apart. 

12. “While Waiting for Thee”

When you’re waiting for your own time to come, don’t wait at loved one’s graves and weep. They’re not there. Instead, look for them in nature, in the butterflies and sunshine. Their memory is all around you if you open your mind to it. 

Helen Steiner Rice Funeral Poems That Say ‘Thank You’

Sometimes the best way to say goodbye is to say thank you for everything. These short eulogy examples and poems below emphasize the importance of togetherness, kindness, and thanks even in the darkest times. 

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13. “A Priceless Gift” 

For a friend who is always there, “A Priceless Gift” is the best way to show thanks. All good friends know that friendship itself is a “priceless gift.” It asks nothing in return, yet kindness is given freely again and again. This is worth more than “diamonds” and “riches.” 

14. “Thank God for Little Things” 

In life, we tend to dwell a lot on the “big things.” However, it’s the “little things” that add up the most in the end. These are the things we should be the most thankful for, from the unexpected courtesy to a kind hand in a moment of need, these are the “sweetest surprises” of life. 

15 “The Power of Love”

Love is the greatest force known to man, and its power can’t fully be understood. It can only be felt. Though you might face problems in the future, there’s nothing we can’t overcome when we put our love and kindness first. This is something to always be thankful for. 

16. “My Thanks”

What are you thankful for? This poem expresses the concept of having so many things you’re thankful for that you don’t even know where to begin. From those who gave the intangible to those who were there in difficult times, this is the best way to say thank you. 

17. “On Wings of Love”

As she’s said before, Rice believes the most priceless gift we give is love. With the help of our faith, love changes us for the better. It makes the world a brighter place, and it washes away dark days. In all things, be thankful for the “wings of love.” 

Poems About Faith, Love, and Life

As a writer, Helen Steiner Rice had a distinct, beloved style. Her work empowered many to explore their faith, reach out to those in need, and create stronger bonds. This has led to her popularity amongst funeral poems, as these poems often fill the gaps in our own words to express difficult feelings. 

Whether you’re honoring a loved one or finding peace after a loss, these poems above are a testament to the things that matter most in life. As Rice says herself, the simplest things are what make the biggest difference at the end of the day. How will you honor those you love?

  1. “Ambassador of Sunshine.” Helen Steiner Rice. HelenSteinerRice.com

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