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Finding the words to say when you lose your Dad can be difficult. Some people find that poems can help them share how they feel. If you’d like to do a funeral reading, you could read one on its own. Or you could read one as part of a longer story about your father and your memories with him. Below you can find a choice of funeral poems for Dad that could be right for you.

Non-religious funeral poems for Dad

Not How Did He Die, But How Did He Live? – Anonymous

"Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain , but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man , regardless of birth.
Not what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away?"

Though nobody knows who wrote this poem, it’s one of the most popular choices of funeral reading for men. It’s an ideal choice for someone who left a positive impact on those around them. If your Dad led a life that brought a smile to others’ faces, this non-religious funeral poem for Dad could help remind people of the good he did.

When Through One Man – Alfred Delp

“When through that one man
A little more love and goodness,
a little more light and truth comes into the world,
Then that man’s life Has had meaning.”

If you’re looking for a short funeral poem for Dad, this option is just a few lines long. It shares a similar meaning to Not How Did He Die, But How Did He Live? It reminds us how one person can make such a big and positive change to the lives around them.

Hero Dad – Joanna Fuchs

“You are my hero, Dad
You're my secure foundation.
When I think of you, I'm filled with love
And fond appreciation.

You make me feel protected;
I'm sheltered by your care.
You're always my true friend; and Dad,
When I need you, you're always there.
You have a place of honor
Deep within my heart.
You've been my superhero, Dad,
Right from the very start.”

This poem is directly addressed to a father. Joanna Fuchs has written lots of Dad poems for a funeral, so if this one isn’t quite right for you, you might find something better suited in her other works.

Little Father – Li-Young Lee

"I buried my father
in the sky.
Since then, the birds
clean and comb him every morning
and pull the blanket up to his chin
every night.

I buried my father underground.
Since then, my ladders
only climb down,
and all the earth has become a house
whose rooms are the hours, whose doors
stand open at evening, receiving
guest after guest.
Sometimes I see past them
to the tables spread for a wedding feast.

I buried my father in my heart.
Now he grows in me, my strange son,
my little root who won’t drink milk,
little pale foot sunk in unheard-of night,
little clock spring newly wet
in the fire, little grape, parent to the future
wine, a son the fruit of his own son,
little father I ransom with my life."

This poem by Li-Young Lee is a bit different from the ones above. It’s abstract and can be a bit confusing at first, but it has a strong meaning. The first stanza talks about his father’s spiritual location (the sky, or heaven). The second his physical location (buried). The third focuses on his emotional location, where he will stay forever (within his child’s heart).

Funeral poems for Dad from daughter

The bond between a father and a daughter can be unique. We’ve collected some funeral poems for Dad from a daughter that could help you share this connection and specific feeling of loss.

A Love Like No Other – Paula M. Newman

"From the time I was born
I guess you would know
Ten perfect fingers
Ten little toes
When you first put your finger in my tiny hand that’s when I first knew
You were my papa no one else would do
As I grow older
and reach for the sky
My Papa is still there
to keep that twinkle in my eye
When I need someone to hold me
you never say I’m too big
You pick me up and squeeze me
and whisper you’re my little kid
Most other people don’t understand me
or maybe just not as well
That’s why you’re the one I run to
when I have something to tell
I love you Papa
as you can see
I’m so glad
that you’re a part of me"

Life Lessons – Joanna Fuchs

"You may have thought I didn't see,
Or that I hadn't heard,
Life lessons that you taught to me,
But I got every word.

Perhaps you thought I missed it all,
And that we'd grow apart,
But Dad, I picked up everything,
It's written on my heart.

Without you, Dad, I wouldn't be
The person I am today;
You built a strong foundation
No one can take away.

I've grown up with your values,
And I'm very glad I did;
So here's to you, dear father,
From your forever grateful kid."

This poem is another from Joanna Fuch’s collection of funeral poems for Dad. It talks about how your father has made you the person you are today and how you’ll never forget the lessons you learned from him.

Funeral poems for Dad from son

If you’re looking for poems and readings for Dad’s funeral that talk about the bond between fathers and sons, one of the choices below could be right for you.

The Little Boy Lost – William Blake

“Father, father, where are you going
O do not walk so fast.
Speak father, speak to your little boy
Or else I shall be lost..."

If you’re looking for short funeral poems for a reading or book of condolence, these four lines by William Blake could be a good choice. It talks about losing your father as a guide or mentor in life and the “lost” feeling you might experience once he’s gone.

My Papa’s Waltz – Theodore Roethke

"The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother’s countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt."

This poem by Theodore Roethke draws a childhood memory he has with his father. It’s a simple scene of them playing and dancing in the kitchen before the little boy is put to bed. It shows how even the smallest or most day-to-day memories with your Dad can be some of the happiest and best remembered.


Other funeral poems

If you haven’t found the right poem yet, or if you’re looking for more general poems and Dad funeral readings, you can find other suggestions below