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Are you making a speech at your cousin’s funeral? Are you looking for some poetry or words of wisdom to help you express how you feel? These funeral readings should help.

We’ve collected a few poems for cousins who’ve passed away, along with some quotes about family and togetherness. You could read these aloud in a eulogy, write them in a sympathy card or simply read them to yourself for comfort. 

Poems about the death of a cousin 

Famous funeral poems for cousins

On the Death of a Young Lady by Lord Byron 

This is an early work by Lord Byron: one of the most famous poets of the 19th century. The poem is dedicated to his cousin and has a dream-like, atmospheric feel.

"Hush’d are the winds, and still the evening gloom, 
Not e’en a zephyr wanders through the grove, 
Whilst I return, to view my Margaret’s tomb, 
And scatter flowers on the dust I love."

Read the full poem at PoetryVerse.

The Strand at Lough Beg by Seamus Heaney 

Seamus Heaney wrote this poem about the death of a cousin called Colum McCartney, who was killed in the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It’s a very personal work that reflects on the mysterious circumstances of the killing before ending on a hopeful note. 

You can read ‘The Strand at Lough Beg’ here

Cousins by Linda Pastan 

The cousin in Linda Pastan’s poem is still alive – but she feels them slipping further and further away as they both get older. For Pastan, the ageing process comes with its own kind of grief. 

This sad, thoughtful piece might make a good poem for a cousin who’s passed away who you didn’t see as much as you’d have liked to. 

Read ‘Cousins’ here.

‘Rest in peace (RIP) Cousin’ poems about death

My Cousin, Milton by Terri Kirby Erickson 

Terri Erickson wrote this poem for a cousin who passed away at the age of just 57. Her cousin was a kind, quiet man who lived and died without fuss. 

He ‘worked for a cable company’, Erickson writes. And when he passed away he simply ‘laid himself down like a trunk line and let the signal pass through’. 

Read ‘My Cousin, Milton’ at Poetry Foundation. 

Shadows (on the Death of a Cousin) by Goodnews Mememugh Karibo 

This unusual and atmospheric poem compares life to the shadows of passing clouds. When the poet’s cousin dies, he wonders ‘why shadows set as though they didn’t come at all’. 

Read ‘Shadows (on the Death of a Cousin)’ here.

Religious ‘cousin in Heaven’ poems  

Rest, Our Dear Cousin by Michelle Alexander 

Here’s a simple, heartfelt ‘goodbye Cousin’ poem with a religious feel. It’s about how people are never truly gone because they leave such precious memories behind. ‘Rest, our dear cousin, with peace of mind’, writes Alexander. ‘Your memories will live on through.’ 

Read ‘Rest, Our Dear Cousin’ here.

The Loss of a Cousin by Collette N. Alaniz 

‘The Loss of a Cousin’ is a poem about grief, loss and faith. The person in the poem is mourning their cousin but takes comfort in the thought that they’ll see them again ‘in that perfect place above’. 

Read ‘The Loss of a Cousin’ here.

Inspirational poems about the death of a cousin  

the rites for Cousin Vit by Gwendolyn Brooks 

Gwendolyn Brooks was a famous African-American writer who became the United States Poet Laureate in 1985. She wrote this death poem for a cousin who loved music, wine and living. In Brooks’ mind, even death couldn’t possibly contain her cousin’s larger-than-life personality. 

Read ‘the rites for Cousin Vit’ here.

My Dear Cousin by Hannah Dean 

This isn’t so much a ‘losing a cousin’ poem as a celebration of the bond between two close relatives and childhood friends. ‘Let us share the joys, let us share the sorrows’, it says – and ‘let us enjoy life together – to have something to remember’. 

Read ‘My Dear Cousin’ here.

Short memorial poems for cousins
Goodbye by Martin Dejnicki 

If you’re looking for simple cousin poems for funerals, take a look at this one by Martin Dejnicki. It’s written like a funeral speech or eulogy, so it’s ideal for reading aloud. 


Read ‘Goodbye’ and more poetry about cousins on Martin Dejnicki’s website

Little One by Jade Wright 

‘Little One’ might work as a poem for a cousin who passed away at a young age. The poet writes about how their little cousin never poses for photographs – so she hopes their ‘grin’ and ‘spark’ will live forever in her mind. 

Read ‘Little One’ here.

Funeral quotes for a cousin

Quotes about what it means to be a cousin

In my cousin, I find a second self.
Isabel Norton
My cousins are shareholders of my soul.
Saswat Padhy
Cousins are people that are ready-made friends. You have laughs with them and remember good times from a young age. You have fights with them but you always know you love each other. They are a better thing than brothers and sisters and friends cause they’re all pieced together as one.

Courteney Cox 

A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.
Marion C. Garretty

Quotes about family

In your name, the family name is at last because it's the family name that lasts
Amit Kalantri
Family is not an important thing. It’s everything. 
Michael J. Fox
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.
Richard Bach
You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
Desmond Tutu

Photo by Phil Nguyen on Pexels.