If you’re struggling to find the right words to talk about the loss of a baby or child, poetry can help. We’ve selected some poems for babies’ and children’s funerals that may reflect your thoughts or feelings during this time. You could read one of these poems at the funeral, write them in a sympathy card, or simply keep them close so you can re-read them whenever you need to.
Funeral poems for babies and children
Too Soon – Mary Yarnall
This baby loss poem by Mary Yarnell laments the lost opportunity to see a child grow to their full potential, while showing gratitude for the love they experienced during the time they had. It’s regularly chosen by people who are looking for poems for children’s funerals, as well as those who are seeking a poem to give comfort after a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
“This was a life that had hardly begun
No time to find your place in the Sun
No time to do all you could have done
But we loved you enough for a lifetime
No time to enjoy the world and it’s wealth
No time to take life down off the shelf
No time to sing the songs of yourself
Though you had enough love for a lifetime
Those who live long endure sadness and tears
But you’ll never suffer the sorrowing years
No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears
Just love – Only love – In your lifetime.”
Little Snowdrop – Anonymous
When we’re experiencing loss, it’s normal to struggle with a sense that the rest of the world is continuing as usual. Little Snowdrop explores this sentiment, highlighting the huge difference that short lives make on those they touch.
“The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn’t bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.
The little one we longed for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
For every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.”
A Butterfly Lights Beside Us – Anonymous
While the author of A Butterfly Lights Beside Us may be unknown, this remains one of the most popular choices for baby loss poems, with its words regularly used in quotes about baby loss. It has a positive tone that focuses on fleeting moments held dear.
Because this poem is so short, it’s also an ideal choice to include in a sympathy card or letter.
“A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam, and for a
brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world:
but then it flies again. And though we wish it could
have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it.”
Do Not Judge – Anonymous
If you’re coping with the loss of a child, it’s natural reflect on what could have been. Do Not Judge encourages us to avoid dwelling on what could have been and to instead focus on the experiences we did have.
“Do not judge a biography by its length,
Nor by the number of pages in it.
Judge it by the richness of its contents
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant…
Do not judge a song by its duration
Nor by the number of its notes
Judge it by the way it touches and lifts the soul
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful…
And when something has enriched your life
And when its melody lingers on in your heart
Is it unfinished?
Or is it endless?”
Reading at a baby’s or child’s funeral
If you’re not used to public speaking, reading at a funeral might feel like a daunting experience. But it’s important to remember that everyone in the room has come together to show respect and to support one another. Some of the tips below can help you to prepare:
- Practice reading your chosen poem in advance
- Discuss the order of service with the funeral planner
- Print more than one physical copy of your poem, in case one is mislaid
- Take your time – it’s fine to feel emotional or to cry while you read
Remember, you can always ask the person leading the funeral to carry out the reading if you feel unable to on the day.
Child loss charities and support
Across the UK, there are several charities to support people who have experienced the loss of a child. Some good examples include:
It’s important to be aware of the support available to you and to reach out as and when you need it. You can find a full list of UK bereavement charities here.
Photo by The Good Funeral Guide on Unsplash