The Importance of Funeral Poems: How a Funeral Poem Can Help You Overcome Grief
No one likes talking about death – it is considered morbid to do so and invokes a sense of fear. The fact is that when someone dies, it is usually followed by periods of immense grief and mourning for the family and loved ones.
People close to the deceased feel this unexplainable weight on their shoulders, almost like they’re hoping for some sort of closure. But, this closure does not come to pass. The burden of unsaid feelings makes them sadder than they should be.
That’s where the importance of funeral poems becomes apparent. It’s easier to express your thoughts and feelings in the written form. And poetry can be a great outlet for all those pent-up emotions.
Even if you are not planning to speak at a funeral, writing a poem can do wonders and help you get that elusive closure. You may even write a condolence poem to share your sympathy with someone suffering from loss.
Before we get into the importance of funeral poems, let’s find out about its roots.
History of Funeral Poems
Contrary to popular belief, funeral poems are not a new addition to a eulogy. This manner of tribute can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans in the works of Propertius and Ovid. They used an elegiac style with couplets to write a funeral poem.
One of the most meaningful funeral poem writers during the Roman era was Callimachus. He wrote a poem for his beloved Lesbia, which captured his intense emotions of helplessness and love on her death.
Later English poets like Lord Tennyson and Thomas Gray continued the similar elegiac style with a more mournful tone. A famous funeral poem of its time by Gray, “Elegy Written in a Country Courtyard,” inspired many other funeral poem writers to follow his style.
During the Romantic Era, the elegiac style of the poem began to evolve lyrically. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a famous writer, claimed that the lyrical style of writing was more reflective of the emotions of the human mind.
Despite the various styles of funeral poems written throughout history, their purpose remains the same. They are a profound expression of sorrow, loss, love, and a heartfelt goodbye to the departed soul.
The Importance of Funeral Poems
A good funeral poem captures the truth about the sorrows that the grieving is carrying in their hearts. The precise arrangement of the carefully chosen words attempts to explore the depth of human emotions. Not only it helps a person on their journey of grief, but it also helps to cultivate empathy for those mourning.
Poetry reminds us what it feels to be a human; how to feel pain and joy, laugh and cry and to celebrate life and mourn death.
On the occasion of a funeral, poetry reading can be a soul-stirring experience. It honors the life of the departed soul and strengthens the bond between the ones left behind. Funeral poems can be mournful, inspirational and uplifting.
They serve as an opportunity to provide insight into the life of the deceased. When reading out loud at a funeral gathering, the poem can turn into a communal experience, allowing everyone present to share a moment of contemplation.
Allows To Channel Painful Emotions
Writing down feelings or journaling is known to be healthy outlets and a great way to overcome pain. Funeral poems serve a similar purpose.
Not everyone can express feelings easily. Many cannot cry and tend to hold their emotions in their hearts. However, such people need a way to let it out or the grief will drown them.
For these people, writing poems can be a means of self-expression that allows them to process and comprehend their feelings in a healthy way. Understanding your feelings is vital, especially in times of grief. It is a time where you find yourself in a whirl of perplexed emotions. If these feelings remain buried in your heart, they can have long term psychological and emotional impact.
For Therapeutic Benefits
A funeral poem can also be helpful for healing even after the ceremony, after weeks, months, or even years. The journey of grief is complicated. The intense bouts of sadness can arise long after the loved one has passed. During these sporadic periods of intense emotions, reading and writing funeral poems can help heal.
Many studies suggest that reading poems can prove to be therapeutic. A funeral poem has this quality because it is contemplative, spiritual, and reminds us of great things about the deceased loved one.
For Your Family
The importance of funeral poems isn’t limited to you. They are important for your family and friends who feel the same pain and grief as you.
Reciting poetry in funerals can be a collective experience that strengthens the bond between family members mourning the loss with you. It helps to find some respite in the companionship of one another, and get away from the sorrow and stress that comes with loss.
Even after the funeral, you can sit together and take a few moments of your day to read the poem and reminisce about the memories of your loved one. It can be a soothing experience for everyone involved.
Writing a Funeral Poem
Funeral poems are great outlets for grief – we hope we’ve established that. However, not everyone is naturally gifted enough to write a poem that does justice to the memory of the deceased.
Before you start writing a funeral poem for your loved one, sit back, and ask yourself questions like:
- Will it honor the person?
- What role did they play in your life?
- What would you like to mention about their passions, visions, aspirations, or life?
- Will the audience relate to the poem?
- Will it reflect their character and pay tribute to them?
- Will it add sentimental value to the ceremony?
Keeping these things in mind, let’s take a look at how to go about writing a funeral poem.
When you start writing a poem, it’s important that you don’t overthink the process. The feelings have to come from within. Begin with jotting down your thoughts on paper. Let your imagination wander and write down any memory, thoughts, feelings, or ideas that cross your mind. After you are done with this, you can start to fit them in rhymes.
Make sure to focus on deciding a theme for your poem. Do you want your poem to be about grief, love, loss, or the afterlife? What emotions do you want to evoke in the audience? Do you want light-hearted humor, some stories about the deceased to break the ice? Once you decide on a specific theme, it gets easier to focus on a particular emotion.
Your funeral poem should be an account of your memories attached to your loved one. You can draw inspiration from their personality traits, their habits, their beliefs, the things they found joy in.
You want to share how they touched your life, what they meant to you and why you were moved by them in life and in death. This will give your funeral poem its emotional pull to resonate.
Finally, you need to work on the structure of the poem. Do you want your poem to have a particular rhyme? Are you satisfied with how it sounds? If you feel like yours doesn’t quite flow all that well, perhaps read up some other funeral poems and take inspiration.
An easy way to begin is to start writing in couplets, where the last word of both sentences rhyme with each other.
Some Important Tips
- If the deceased was religious, add some reference to their faith
- Make sure to incorporate the achievements of your loved one so you can celebrate their life
- You can also take help from your family members and incorporate their feelings in the poem
- If you wrote the poem to share at the funeral – as a way of healing as those grieving – do a trial run in front of a small group of trusted people first. You want to get the delivery right when you’re reciting the poem for everyone.
If you have lost a loved one recently, the importance of funeral poems can only be understood if you give it a try. Whether you plan on reading the poem at the funeral or want to write it as a way to let out your feelings, it will be beneficial for your grief journey.
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