18 Short Poems for a Memory Jar or Box


A memory jar or box is a place to store your important memories, feelings, and moments. As you age, you might feel like life is passing you by quickly. It’s important to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, but that’s easier said than done. 

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Using a memory jar or box is an easy way to store and save the memories that are meaningful to you. With so many memory jar ideas to choose from, there are no limits to how you can keep your memories close. 

One of the best ways to decorate a memory jar or box is with a poem. Poetry is a way to express feelings and moments that are hard to put into words. Borrow from the pros with these 18 short poem ideas for a memory jar or box. 

How to Add a Poem to Your Memory Jar or Box

If you’re looking to include an inspiring poem on your memory jar, it’s easy to get started. This is one of the simplest things to make yourself, no crafting experience necessary. A memory jar is also one of the best DIY memorial gifts for someone you love. 

To add a poem to your memory jar or box, you’ll need the following:

  • Poem: Of course, you’ll need a favorite poem. Check the list below for inspiration. 
  • Paper: You’ll need paper to print or write your poem on. Though you can use any type of paper, high-quality cardstock or stationary works the best. 
  • Tape or glue: Lastly, you’ll need tape or glue to secure your printed or written poem. Tape works best, but high-quality glue works as well. 
  • Optional extras: You might also want optional extras like string, twine, colorful tape, glitter, stickers, paint, and so on. 

Once you’ve chosen the right poem for you, you have the choice of either printing it or writing it yourself. If you have nice handwriting, writing your own poem is a unique way to personalize your memory jar. Otherwise, you can use a variety of fonts to create the right aesthetic that fits your personality. 

From there, it’s as simple as printing (or writing) your poem of choice and attaching it to your jar or box with tape, glue, or string. Feel free to add any extras to really make your memory jar special. 

» MORE: An online memorial is a perfect ending to honor and celebrate someone's life. Create one for free.

Poems for a Funeral or Memorial Service’s Memory Jar

One of the most common purposes of a memory jar is to honor someone who’s died. By putting together memories, photos, and mementos of the person who passed, you create something that’s worth holding onto for years to come. 

1. "Farewell" by Anne Bronte

Anne Bronte’s “Farewell” is a classic memorial poem. In this poem, the narrator says goodbye but recognizes that this is not forever. Because their loved one lives within their heart, they’re never really gone. 

2. “Music, When Soft Voices Die” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Though the title refers to music, this is truly a poem about memory. Like music, we feel love and remembrance even when it’s ended. It’s something that vibrates in your very being, living on forever. 

3. “Remember Me” by Christine Currah

Though it’s hard to remember those who have gone, it is in remembering them that we honor their memory. In this poem, Christine Currah urges her readers to remember her with happiness, as though she lives forever. 

4. “Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep” by Mary Frye

This might be one of the most well-known funeral poems ever. Frye shares the importance of moving through mourning after a loss. Though it’s hard, those we love are always with us. “I am not there, I did not die,” the poem reads. 

5. “There Is No Night Without a Dawning” by Helen Steiner Rice

Just as there is no night without dawn, there are no bad days without good days ahead. The world might seem a little bit darker, but this is only temporary. 

6. “The Excursion" by William Wordsworth

Though “The Excursion” is a longer reading, it has many passages worthy of a memory jar. This reflection on what it means to remember is an important reminder that the things (and people) we love can never be destroyed. 

» MORE: Grief can be lonely. Create space for your community to share memories and tributes with a free online memorial from Cake.

Poems for a Graduation Party’s Memory Jar

A graduation memory jar is a way to gather some of the best memories and mementos from the past few years. Though this might be the end of a chapter, a new one is about to begin. 

7. "Up-Hill" by Christina Rossetti

This is a poem not specifically about graduation, rather, it’s about what lies ahead. It’s normal to feel worried and unsure if you don’t know what will happen next, yet you always have help along the way. 

8. “If” by Rudyard Kipling

Known as one of the most influential graduation poems, this is all about keeping your head held high when life gets you down. Most importantly, it’s about learning to trust yourself no matter what. 

9. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

Everyone knows how the “two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” but the meaning behind this poem can be argued for the rest of time. It’s a philosophical and meaningful poem, no matter which way you interpret it, and it’s perfect for capturing new beginnings. 

10. “True Greatness” by A. C. Shaw

Though you wear a new title today on the eve of graduation, it’s important to avoid life’s many temptations while you focus on making yourself “true greatness.” 

11. “Don’t Drift” by Robert Whitaker

As you begin a new part of your life, there will be a lot of reasons to drift from your goals. It’s important to live for something important, even as you find yourself “drifting with the tide” of life. 

12. “The Friend" by Matt Hart

When it comes to poems about friendship, few capture the reality like “The Friend” by Matt Hart. A real friend is there no matter what, and they won’t depart just because graduation is here at last. 

» MORE: Online obituary that is 100% free. Honor a loved one beyond a newspaper.

Poems for a Birthday Party’s Memory Jar

Finally, these poems are the best way to celebrate a birthday while looking back on all things past. These birthday party memory jar poems help you honor your growth, changes, and progress. 

13. "Birthday Lights" by Calef Brown

This whimsical poem celebrates the joy and magic of birthdays. This is the perfect time to make a wish for the future, no matter how big or small.

14. “Counting Backwards” by Linda Pastan

As we get older, time seems to go faster. It’s harder to remember the things from our past, and it’s hard to hold onto the little moments. Pastan captures this feeling but still remains optimistic about the now. 

15. “I Took My Power in My Hand” by Emily Dickinson

We’re all in charge of our own lives, our own years, and our own goals. In this Dickinson poem, she takes her own power and challenges herself to do all she can—even if she falls along the way.

16. “Late Fragment” by Raymond Carver

Everyone wants the same thing, “to feel [themselves] beloved on the earth.” Getting what you want from life can sometimes be as simple as that.

17. “The Lesson” by Maya Angelou

Though life sometimes is full of challenges, we can learn to live through these difficult days. The years live “deep in lines along [your] face,” you can always choose to keep living for yourself. 

18. "Dreams" by Langston Hughes

Last but not least, Langston Hughes shares the power of dreams. It’s important to hold strong to these dreams for they are what make life worth living. Without them, life is nothing but a “barren field frozen with snow.” 

Create a Memory Jar Inspired By Poetry

Poetry is painting with words. Though it’s not always easy to capture feelings of remembrance, memories, graduations, and birthdays, the poems above prove that it’s possible with the right stanzas. Though short and simple, there is a world of knowledge to discover. 

If you’re creating a memory jar for yourself, a celebration, or a memorial, a poem is a perfect way to set the tone. Not only will it spark inspiration for your memory jar or box, but it will encourage you to live life to the fullest every time you see it. What brings you joy and inspiration?

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