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Best Famous Funeral Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Funeral poems. This is a select list of the best famous Funeral poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Funeral poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of funeral poems.

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by Edgar Lee Masters | |

Doc Hill

I went up and down the streets
Here and there by day and night,
Through all hours of the night caring for the poor who were sick.
Do you know why? My wife hated me, my son went to the dogs.
And I turned to the people and poured out my love to them.
Sweet it was to see the crowds about the lawns on the day of my funeral, And hear them murmur their love and sorrow.
But oh, dear God, my soul trembled, scarcely able To hold to the railing of the new life When I saw Em Stanton behind the oak tree At the grave, Hiding herself, and her grief!


by Emily Dickinson | |

I felt a funeral in my brain

I felt a funeral in my brain,
   And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
   That sense was breaking through.
And when they all were seated, A service like a drum Kept beating, beating, till I thought My mind was going numb And then I heard them lift a box, And creak across my soul With those same boots of lead, again.
Then space began to toll As all the heavens were a bell, And being, but an ear, And I and Silence some strange Race Wrecked, solitary, here.


by John Donne | |

The Funeral

WHOEVER comes to shroud me do not harm 
Nor question much 
That subtle wreath of hair about mine arm; 
The mystery the sign you must not touch  
For 'tis my outward soul 5 
Viceroy to that which unto heav'n being gone  
Will leave this to control 
And keep these limbs her provinces from dissolution.
For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall Through every part 10 Can tie those parts and make me one of all; Those hairs which upward grew and strength and art Have from a better brain Can better do 't: except she meant that I By this should know my pain 15 As prisoners then are manacled when they're condemn'd to die.
Whate'er she meant by 't bury it with me For since I am Love's martyr it might breed idolatry If into other hands these reliques came.
20 As 'twas humility T' afford to it all that a soul can do So 'tis some bravery That since you would have none of me I bury some of you.


by Philip Larkin | |

Dublinesque

 Down stucco sidestreets,
Where light is pewter
And afternoon mist
Brings lights on in shops
Above race-guides and rosaries,
A funeral passes.
The hearse is ahead, But after there follows A troop of streetwalkers In wide flowered hats, Leg-of-mutton sleeves, And ankle-length dresses.
There is an air of great friendliness, As if they were honouring One they were fond of; Some caper a few steps, Skirts held skilfully (Someone claps time), And of great sadness also.
As they wend away A voice is heard singing Of Kitty, or Katy, As if the name meant once All love, all beauty.


by Christina Rossetti | |

Marvel of Marvels

 MARVEL of marvels, if I myself shall behold 
With mine own eyes my King in His city of gold; 
Where the least of lambs is spotless white in the fold, 
Where the least and last of saints in spotless white is stoled, 
Where the dimmest head beyond a moon is aureoled.
O saints, my beloved, now mouldering to mould in the mould, Shall I see you lift your heads, see your cerements unroll'd, See with these very eyes? who now in darkness and cold Tremble for the midnight cry, the rapture, the tale untold,-- The Bridegroom cometh, cometh, His Bride to enfold! Cold it is, my beloved, since your funeral bell was toll'd: Cold it is, O my King, how cold alone on the wold!


by Richard Wilbur | |

Museum Piece

 The good gray guardians of art
Patrol the halls on spongy shoes,
Impartially protective, though
Perhaps suspicious of Toulouse.
Here dozes one against the wall, Disposed upon a funeral chair.
A Degas dancer pirouettes Upon the parting of his hair.
See how she spins! The grace is there, But strain as well is plain to see.
Degas loved the two together: Beauty joined to energy.
Edgar Degas purchased once A fine El Greco, which he kept Against the wall beside his bed To hang his pants on while he slept.


by James Henry Leigh Hunt | |

Death

 Come thou, thou last one, whom I recognize,
unbearable pain throughout this body's fabric:
as I in my spirit burned, see, I now burn in thee:
the wood that long resisted the advancing flames
which thou kept flaring, I now am nourishinig
and burn in thee.
My gentle and mild being through thy ruthless fury has turned into a raging hell that is not from here.
Quite pure, quite free of future planning, I mounted the tangled funeral pyre built for my suffering, so sure of nothing more to buy for future needs, while in my heart the stored reserves kept silent.
Is it still I, who there past all recognition burn? Memories I do not seize and bring inside.
O life! O living! O to be outside! And I in flames.
And no one here who knows me.
[Written in December 1926, this poem was the last entry in Rilke's notebook, less than two weeks before his death at age 51.
]


by Marilyn L Taylor | |

At the End

 In another time, a linen winding sheet
would already have been drawn
about her, the funeral drums by now

would have throbbed their dull tattoo
into the shadows writhing 
behind the fire’s eye

while a likeness
of her narrow torso, carved
and studded with obsidian

might have been passed from hand
to hand and rubbed against the bellies
of women with child

and a twist of her gray hair
been dipped in oil
and set alight, releasing the essence

of her life’s elixir, pricking
the nostrils of her children
and her children’s children

whose amber faces nod and shine
like a ring of lanterns
strung around her final flare--

but instead, she lives in this white room
gnawing on a plastic bracelet
as she is emptied, filled and emptied.


by Ben Jonson | by Ben Jonson. You can read it on PoetrySoup.com' st_url='http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poem/23118/On_Chuffe_Banks_the_Usurers______Kinsman' st_title='On Chuffe, Banks the Usurer's Kinsman'>|

On Chuffe, Banks the Usurer's Kinsman


XLIV.
 ? ON CHUFFE, BANKS THE USURER'S KINSMAN.
  
CHUFFE, lately rich in name, in chattels, goods,
    And rich in issue to inherit all,
    Ere blacks were bought for his own funeral,
Saw all his race approach the blacker floods :
    He meant they thither should make swift repair,
    When he made him executor, might be heir.


by Walt Whitman | |

To a Certain Civilian.

 DID you ask dulcet rhymes from me? 
Did you seek the civilian’s peaceful and languishing rhymes? 
Did you find what I sang erewhile so hard to follow? 
Why I was not singing erewhile for you to follow, to understand—nor am I now; 
(I have been born of the same as the war was born;
The drum-corps’ harsh rattle is to me sweet music—I love well the martial dirge,

With slow wail, and convulsive throb, leading the officer’s funeral:) 
—What to such as you, anyhow, such a poet as I?—therefore leave my works, 
And go lull yourself with what you can understand—and with piano-tunes; 
For I lull nobody—and you will never understand me.


by Walt Whitman | |

That Music Always Round Me.

 THAT music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning—yet long untaught I did not hear; 
But now the chorus I hear, and am elated; 
A tenor, strong, ascending, with power and health, with glad notes of day-break I hear, 
A soprano, at intervals, sailing buoyantly over the tops of immense waves, 
A transparent bass, shuddering lusciously under and through the universe,
The triumphant tutti—the funeral wailings, with sweet flutes and violins—all
 these I
 fill myself with; 
I hear not the volumes of sound merely—I am moved by the exquisite meanings, 
I listen to the different voices winding in and out, striving, contending with fiery
 vehemence
 to excel each other in emotion; 
I do not think the performers know themselves—but now I think I begin to know them.


by George Herbert | |

Grace

 This air is flooded with her.
I am a boy again, and my mother and I lie on wet grass, laughing.
She startles, turns to marigolds at my side, saying beautiful, and I can see the red there is in them.
When she would fall into her thoughts, we'd look for what distracted her from us.
My mother's gone again as suddenly as ever and, seven months after the funeral, I go dancing.
I am becoming grateful.
Breathing, thinking, marigolds.


by Amy Levy | |

The Piano-Organ

 My student-lamp is lighted,
The books and papers are spread;
A sound comes floating upwards,
Chasing the thoughts from my head.
I open the garret window, Let the music in and the moon; See the woman grin for coppers, While the man grinds out the tune.
Grind me a dirge or a requiem, Or a funeral-march sad and slow, But not, O not, that waltz tune I heard so long ago.
I stand upright by the window, The moonlight streams in wan:-- O God! with its changeless rise and fall The tune twirls on and on.


by Sarojini Naidu | |

In The Forest

 HERE, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead, 
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre 
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red, 
Here let us burn them in noon's flaming torches of fire.
We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest, Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn; We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.
But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng; Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain, We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.


by Sarojini Naidu | |

Indian Weavers

 WEAVERS, weaving at break of day, 
Why do you weave a garment so gay? .
.
.
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild, We weave the robes of a new-born child.
Weavers, weaving at fall of night, Why do you weave a garment so bright? .
.
.
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green, We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
Weavers, weaving solemn and still, What do you weave in the moonlight chill? .
.
.
White as a feather and white as a cloud, We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.


by Sarojini Naidu | |

Corn Grinders

 O little mouse, why dost thou cry 
While merry stars laugh in the sky? 


Alas! alas! my lord is dead! 
Ah, who will ease my bitter pain? 
He went to seek a millet-grain 
In the rich farmer's granary shed; 
They caught him in a baited snare, 
And slew my lover unaware: 
Alas! alas! my lord is dead.
O little deer, why dost thou moan, Hid in thy forest-bower alone? Alas! alas! my lord is dead! Ah! who will quiet my lament? At fall of eventide he went To drink beside the river-head; A waiting hunter threw his dart, And struck my lover through the heart.
Alas! alas! my lord is dead.
O little bride, why dost thou weep With all the happy world asleep? Alas! alas! my lord is dead! Ah, who will stay these hungry tears, Or still the want of famished years, And crown with love my marriage-bed? My soul burns with the quenchless fire That lit my lover's funeral pyre: Alas! alas! my lord is dead.


by Robert Louis Stevenson | |

Away With Funeral Music

 AWAY with funeral music - set
The pipe to powerful lips -
The cup of life's for him that drinks
And not for him that sips.


by Oscar Wilde | |

The Grave Of Keats

 Rid of the world's injustice, and his pain,
He rests at last beneath God's veil of blue:
Taken from life when life and love were new
The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain.
No cypress shades his grave, no funeral yew, But gentle violets weeping with the dew Weave on his bones an ever-blossoming chain.
O proudest heart that broke for misery! O sweetest lips since those of Mitylene! O poet-painter of our English Land! Thy name was writ in water - it shall stand: And tears like mine will keep thy memory green, As Isabella did her Basil-tree.
ROME.


by Elinor Wylie | |

Death and the Maiden

 BARCAROLE ON THE STYX


Fair youth with the rose at your lips, 
A riddle is hid in your eyes; 
Discard conversational quips, 
Give over elaborate disguise.
The rose's funeral breath Confirms by intuitive fears; To prove your devotion, Sir Death, Avaunt for a dozen of years.
But do not forget to array Your terror in juvenile charms; I shall deeply regret my delay If I sleep in a skeleton's arms.


by Vernon Scannell | |

Nettles

 My son aged three fell in the nettle bed.
'Bed' seemed a curious name for those green spears, That regiment of spite behind the shed: It was no place for rest.
With sobs and tears The boy came seeking comfort and I saw White blisters beaded on his tender skin.
We soothed him till his pain was not so raw.
At last he offered us a watery grin, And then I took my billhook, honed the blade And went outside and slashed in fury with it Till not a nettle in that fierce parade Stood upright any more.
And then I lit A funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead, But in two weeks the busy sun and rain Had called up tall recruits behind the shed: My son would often feel sharp wounds again.


by Andrew Marvell | |

The Mower To The Glo-Worms

 Ye living Lamps, by whose dear light
The Nightingale does sit so late,
And studying all the Summer-night,
Her matchless Songs does meditate;

Ye Country Comets, that portend
No War, nor Princes funeral,
Shining unto no higher end
Then to presage the Grasses fall;

Ye Glo-worms, whose officious Flame
To wandring Mowers shows the way,
That in the Night have lost their aim,
And after foolish Fires do stray;

Your courteous Lights in vain you wast,
Since Juliana here is come,
For She my Mind hath so displac'd
That I shall never find my home.


by Mark Strand | |

A Piece Of The Storm

 For Sharon Horvath

From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed.
That's all There was to it.
No more than a solemn waking To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly, A time between times, a flowerless funeral.
No more than that Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm, Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back, That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say: "It's time.
The air is ready.
The sky has an opening.
"


by William Strode | |

On John Dawson Butler Of C.C.

 Dawson the Butler's dead: Although I think
Poets were ne'er infusde with single drinke
Ile spend a farthing muse; some watry verse
Will serve the turne to cast upon his hearse;
If any cannot weepe amongst us here
Take off his pott, and so squeeze out a tear:
Weepe, O his cheeses, weepe till yee bee good,
Yee that are dry or in the sun have stood;
In mossy coats und rusty liveries mourne,
Untill like him to ashes you shall turne:
Weep, O ye barrells, lett your drippings fall
In trickling streams: make waste more prodigal
Than when our drinke is badde, that John may flote
To Styx in beere, and lift upp Charon's boate
With wholesome waves.
And as our conduits run With clarett at a Coronation, So lett our channells flow with single tiffe, For John, I hope, is crownde: take off your whiffe, Yee men of Rosemary: Now drinke off all, Remembring 'tis a Butler's funeral: Had he bin master of good double beere, My life for his, John Dawson had beene here.


by Dylan Thomas | |

Among Those Killed In The Dawn Raid Was A Man Aged A Hundred

 When the morning was waking over the war
He put on his clothes and stepped out and he died,
The locks yawned loose and a blast blew them wide,
He dropped where he loved on the burst pavement stone
And the funeral grains of the slaughtered floor.
Tell his street on its back he stopped a sun And the craters of his eyes grew springshots and fire When all the keys shot from the locks, and rang.
Dig no more for the chains of his grey-haired heart.
The heavenly ambulance drawn by a wound Assembling waits for the spade's ring on the cage.
O keep his bones away from the common cart, The morning is flying on the wings of his age And a hundred storks perch on the sun's right hand.


by Isaac Watts | |

Psalm 89 part 6

 v.
47ff L.
M.
Mortality and hope.
A funeral psalm.
Remember, Lord, our mortal state, How frail our life! how short the date! Where is the man that draws his breath Safe from disease, secure from death'? Lord, while we see whole nations die, Our flesh and sense repine and cry, "Must death for ever rage and reign? Or hast thou made mankind in vain? "Where is thy promise to the just? Are not thy servants turned to dust?" But faith forbids these mournful sighs, And sees the sleeping dust arise.
That glorious hour, that dreadful day, Wipes the reproach of saints away, And clears the honor of thy word: Awake, our souls, and bless the Lord.