Poems to read at a Funeral. A helpful and useful guide
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This is just like writing the topic for funeral poems. The only difference is that the poems to be read at a funeral can be written by another person for a deceased while the funeral poems are poems for the funeral itself which can be written either by the deceased or another person but they are both used as the epitaph.
Getting poems to read at funeral used to be difficult as a poet is needed to construct a good and befitting poem for the deceased unlike today in a world of a global village where many funeral poems are posted online and can be searched for on the internet.
Reading the out a love poem or reading it to oneself is quite loving and emotional in a good way but reading a funeral poem is the other way round. Its full of emotions because love is attached to the person that dies and knowing fully well that the person is no more creates an emotional breakdown causing even the listeners to be emotional at the same time as the reader.
This emotion is as a characteristic of human beings, even the most wicked human still have emotions that is why he or she is wicked in the first place, it just depends on how the emotions are channeled and where they are channeled to.
Thinking about emotions
A lot of funeral poems that when reading, the reader cannot just help to be emotional and started crying, the funeral poem is actually not for making people cry, its original purpose was to console and bring to the consciousness of man that death is inevitable and everything will end one day but it has become something that when reading.
There is deep thinking about the life of the deceased by the readers and the listeners to start crying and started feeling emotional. The funeral poems when read, they sound like idioms or axioms but the difference between the funeral poems and other poems is the context. The settings are different entirely as the funeral poems are always talking about death and life after it.
What are the rules?
There are no rules to how funeral poems should be written except that it should be related and must portray the ‘death’. It should also go in line with how the poem is written. The poem is not the same as the story and it is not a speech that the writer would be beating around the bush first or trying to make everyone laugh. Funeral poems make everyone that reads or listen to it sober.
The settings to poems are always different from the settings of any other write-ups like stories or speech or even articles. The settings of a poem are like that of the Bible in which it’s in verses and not in categories like stories and speech that has introduction, body, and conclusion.
There has been a mistake over the years that the first verse of a poem is the introduction while the middle verses are the body leaving the last verse to be the conclusion. The writer likewise the reader of a funeral poem or any other form of the poem is straightforward as there is no chance to be beating around the bush or leaving the readers and the listeners with suspense, the poem itself is suspense as it is mostly written in idioms.
Those popular funeral poems
There are many poems that have been written and they still last till today. Many poems were written in the 70s’, and 80s’ like “do not stand at my grave and weep”, “funeral blues”, a song of living”, “away”. All these poems can still be read at the funeral.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
Let me give a brief analysis of a poem, Do not stand at my grave and weep written by an American poet, Elizabeth Mary Frye. The poem was written in the year 1932 and people still read at funerals till today. The poem does not stand at my grave and weep is a poem with two verses and twelve lines.
This is a perfect illustration of a funeral poem which portrays that a poem does not have an introduction either but does it have a conclusion. It is just written and stops wherever it seems good. The last line of the poem gives the reason for people not to cry at her grave and the reason is that she is not dead, and she is not at the grave which takes us to the verse one saying she has turned to the wind that blows.
Definitely, this poem was not written out of fun, it was written out of emotions and reading a poem for funerals, the poems must be full of emotions that will move people to want to have an afterthought about their life and how things will be after they are gone.
The purpose of funeral poems
During the funeral ceremony, people would gather around the casket ready to be dropped inside the ‘six foot’. Many people weeping for one reason or the other. Either they are crying they will miss the deceased or they are crying because the deceased didn’t live a good life and they were hoping he would have changed before he or died but no one knows when the death will come. Like the spiritual folks would say ” death is a thief, he would come like robbers in the night for no one knows the time and moment it will come’
Many people write the funeral poem for many purposes but the major one is to make everybody sober and remorseful of any kind of evil work they are up to or doing. Making people understand that death is inevitable, death is real and the funeral is real.
List of funeral poems and the poets
- Crossing the bars by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Do not stand at my grave and weep by Elizabeth Mary Frye
- Death by Joyce Grenfell
- Death be not proud by John Donne
- Epitaph on a child by Thomas Grey
- Early death by Hartley Coleridge
- A parting guest by James Whitcomb Riley
- At that hour by James Joyce
- Death is nothing by Canon Henry
- Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden