How To Create A Meaningful Funeral > Readings

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.

- Robert Frost
Poet & Writer

Why We Have Readings At Funerals

It’s often said that at times in life when words are inadequate we turn to ceremony.

But the truth is, the formal words of the readings we use in funeral ceremonies also have the capacity to bear the weight of our most profound thoughts and feelings about death.

Crafted by master wordsmiths, they capture what we ourselves feel inside but are usually incapable of expressing so eloquently. They are words ‘well said’.

These do a wonderful job of helping friends and families move forward in their mourning.

For starters, readings that specifically mention death help mourners acknowledge the reality and finality of death and come to terms with it.

Each of these personalised readings can be prefaced with a few words about the reading’s place in the person’s life.

This helps funeral attendees remember the person who died.

Ceremonies can include readings, such as, religious texts, poems, book reading or other verses.

Involving Other Family Members And Friends In The Funeral

Inviting several different people to do readings is a good way to involve a number of mourners in the funeral ceremony.

Their involvement helps them as well as others.

Responsive or group readings can also demonstrate social bonds and evoke community support.

The Top 16 Funeral Readings Taken From Poems

  1. “When I am dead my dearest” by Christina Rossetti
  2. “Our revels are now ended” from The Tempest by William Shakespeare
  3. “The Choir Invisible” by George Eliot
  4. “But Not Forgotten” by Dorothy Parker
  5. “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden
  6. “Dear Lovely Death” by Langston Hughes
  7. “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye
  8. “Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats” by Percy Bysshe Shelle
  9. “Remember Me” by Margaret Mead
  10. “Dirge Without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
  11. “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas
  12. “The Emperor of Ice Cream” by Wallace Stevens
  13. “Turn Again to Life” by Mary Lee Hall
  14. “Remember” by Christina Rossetti
  15. “Epitaph on a Friend” by Robert Burns
  16. “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

Source: Dr Alan Wolfelt & Bustle

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