Condolence poems for sympathy cards and funerals

handwritten condolence sympathy letter with an ink pen and bunch of purple flowers

If someone you know is grieving, finding the right words can be difficult. We’ve put together this collection of sympathy and condolence poems to help you find the words you want to say. If you find one that you like you could write it down in a sympathy card, perhaps with a short personal message. Or you could read it at the funeral as part of a funeral speech or eulogy.

Popular condolence poems

Immortality by Clare Harner

This is one of the UK’s most popular condolence poems. It’s often published under the name ‘Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep’.

The poem is written from the point of view of a person who has died. It asks people not to grieve because the person lives on through nature. As the poem says, they’re there when the wind blows, the snow falls and the sun shines.

The original version was written by Clare Harner in 1934. You can read it here.

 

Let Me Go by Christina Rossetti

Christina Georgina Rossetti was a famous 19th-century poet. She wrote several poems about death and dying. ‘Let Me Go’ is one of her best-known pieces. It’s about knowing that death is coming and hoping that people won’t be sad for very long.

‘Let Me Go’ is quite a long poem. If you need a poem for a condolence card, you might want to choose a short snippet that you like. The first part of the poem is below – you can read the rest here.

 

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me

I want no rites in a gloom filled room

Why cry for a soul set free?

 

Miss me a little, but not for long

And not with your head bowed low

Remember the love that once we shared

Miss me, but let me go.

 

Sympathy poems for the loss of a mother

My Mother by Ann Taylor

‘My Mother’ is about being thankful for a mother’s love. It would make the perfect condolence poem for someone who’s grieving for their mum. Or you could read it at your mother’s funeral as a tribute.

Here’s the first part of the poem. Why not read the full piece and pick out a few verses that mean a lot to you? Some parts have religious references, so they may not be suitable for a non-religious funeral.

 

Who sat and watched my infant head

When sleeping on my cradle bed,

And tears of sweet affection shed?

My Mother.

 

When pain and sickness made me cry,

Who gazed upon my heavy eye,

And wept for fear that I should die?

My Mother.

 

Mother: A Cradle to Hold Me by Maya Angelou

This is a modern piece, first published in 2006. It uses powerful, poetic language to express the unique bond between a mother and her child. The poem starts in childhood, describes the poet’s difficult teenage years, then ends with a ‘thank you’ to her mother for always loving her.

You can read part of the poem here.

 

Sympathy poems for the loss of a father

An extract from Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walden is a book about living a simple life among nature. This extract shows the author’s feelings on the subject. He believes some people are born to be different and should follow their own path, even if that means living apart from society.

While it’s not specifically about someone who has died, it would make a good tribute to a father who lived life by their own rules.

 

Why should we be in such haste to succeed

And in such desperate enterprises

If a man does not keep pace with his companions,

Perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.

Let him step to the music which he hears,

However treasured or far away.

 

Happy the Man by John Dryden

Even though this poem is quite old, it still feels relevant. It talks about the importance of enjoying each day as it comes. You could send it to someone who’s lost their father to remind them that their dad lived a full and happy life.

 

Happy the man, and happy he alone,

He who can call today his own:

He who, secure within, can say,

Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.

Be fair or foul or rain or shine

The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.

Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,

But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

 

A Boy and His Dad by Edgar Guest

‘A Boy and His Dad’ would be a good condolence poem for a son who’s lost their father. It tells the story of a fishing trip, but the main point is that you should treasure the time you spend with your dad. You don’t have to like fishing to find meaning in it.

Read the full poem here.

 

Sympathy poems for the loss of a brother or sister

Brother and Sister by George Eliot

‘Brother and Sister’ is a poem about sharing a happy childhood with a sibling. It’s probably too long to read aloud or use in a sympathy card, but you could choose a part you like and use that. It may be especially comforting for a sister who’s lost their brother.

An extract is below. The full poem is available here.

 

Long years have left their writing on my brow,

But yet the freshness and the dew-fed beam

Of those young mornings are about me now,

When we two wandered toward the far-off stream

 

With rod and line. Our basket held a store

Baked for us only, and I thought with joy

That I should have my share, though he had more,

Because he was the elder and a boy.

 

The firmaments of daisies since to me

Have had those mornings in their opening eyes,

The bunchèd cowslip’s pale transparency

Carries that sunshine of sweet memories,

 

And wild-rose branches take their finest scent

From those blest hours of infantine content.

 

The Broken Chain by Ron Tranmer

‘The Broken Chain’ is a religious poem that compares a family’s love to links in a chain. When a person in the family dies, the chain is broken. However, it will become whole again when the family members meet in heaven.

You can read the poem on Ron Tranmer’s website.

 

Short sympathy poems and quotes

These short pieces would make excellent poems for sympathy cards because they’re easy to copy out. We’ve also chosen a couple of quotes that could bring comfort to people who are grieving. You could write these after a condolence message or say them at the end of a funeral speech.

Time Is by Henry van Dyke

This poem is perhaps most famous for being part of Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997. It recognises that time moves slowly for people who are grieving but reminds them that love lasts forever. The poem is sometimes called ‘For Katrina’s Sun Dial’.

 

Time is too slow for those who wait,

Too swift for those who fear,

Too long for those who grieve,

Too short for those who rejoice,

But for those who love, time is

Eternity.

 

An extract from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

This is a very old poem by an 11th -century Persian mathematician. It has a bittersweet feel – it urges people to enjoy life while they can, but promises that death isn’t really the end.

 

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend

Before we too into the Dust descend

Dust unto Dust, and under Dust, to lie

Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and—sans End.

 

An anonymous poem about grief

This short sympathy poem was written by an unnamed poet. Nonetheless, it has a powerful message. It says that people shouldn’t be ashamed to cry, because tears express our deepest emotions.

 

There is a sacredness in tears.

They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.

They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.

They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.

 

Sympathy quotes

‘There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief’

This quote means ‘happy memories are the saddest memories when you’re grieving’. It’s said to come from the ancient Greek writer Aeschylus.

 

‘When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight’

This quote is taken from The Prophet, a bestselling book by Kahlil Gibran. It says that when we grieve, we feel sad because we’re remembering happy times.

 

More grief and sympathy poems

 

Funeral Choice is a free online resource that helps people plan funerals and find local funeral homes. To read more helpful articles, visit our funeral planning advice hub.

 

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

×

Request Advice

Call a member of the Funeral Choice advice team on 01983 754387

or complete our enquiry form.

×

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
Close
×

What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
Close
×

Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

Close
×

Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

Close
×

Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
Close
×

Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

Close