Useful Poems

There are so many poems that could be used for a scattering ashes ceremony. By the time you have tried to wade through them all it is tiring and emotional, and you may forget where you have started.

We have thought about what someone may wish for their send off and broken them down into a few categories:

  • Life affirming poems
  • Solemn/Wistful poems
  • Light-hearted poems
  • Famous poems
  • Christian Text

Life Affirming Poems

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

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.

Because You Have Lived.
To laugh often and much.
To win the respect of intelligent people, and
the affection of children.

To earn the appreciation of honest critics.
To appreciate beauty.
To find the best in others.

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
or a garden patch.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you
have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

Solemn/Wistful Poems

Miss Me But Let Me Go

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 too long
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared
miss me but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take
and each must go alone
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
a step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds,
Miss me, but let me go.

A brief candle

By Charlie Daniels

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You’re free at last.

You Will See Them Someday
By Stephan Banks

when you lose someone it can be hard to take
the pain that you feel when your heart has to break
the memories you keep are all in your mind
as you search your soul for more to find
the way their skin felt the smell of their hair
as you keep thinking over and shedding a tear
the years may pass, memories fade to grey
but your getting no younger you’ll see them someday
unconditional love is never forgotten
look deep in your heart it is there at the bottom
alone in the dark sometimes in fear
voices from loved ones your hoping to hear
more years pass, they soon fly by
but your always looked upon from those in the sky
surrounded by clouds and pure white doves
they listen and watch sending you love
just remember one thing as you sit and you pray
they will be there to greet you, you will see them someday.

Remember
By Christina Rossetti.
Remember me when I am gone away,
gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
you tell me of the future that you planned;
Only remember me; you understand
it will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet, if you should forget me for a while
and afterwards, remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
a vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad.

 

Afterglow

by Helen Lowrie Marshall and published in 1958.

I’d like the memory of me
To be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow
Of smiles when day is done.

I’d like to leave an echo
Whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times, and laughing times
And bright and sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve
To dry before the sun
Of happy memories I leave
Behind – when day is done.

Honour and comfort

by A. C. Swinburne

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea

Funny Poems

We quite like this one – especially if you have opted for a scattering at sea -

I must go down to the sea again

By Spike Mulligan

I must go down to the sea again,
to the lonely sea and the sky;
I left my shoes and socks there – I wonder if they’re dry?

Gaily I lived

By René Francois Regnier

Gaily I lived as ease and nature taught,
And spent my little life without a thought,
And am amazed that Death, that tyrant grim,
Should think of me, who never thought of him.

Famous Poems

Do not go gentle into that good night

By Dylan Thomas, 1951 or 1952

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Stop all the clocks

By W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

She is gone

By David Harkins

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Christian Text

For when ashes are interned or scattered

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills -
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip -
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you -
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and evermore.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.