When choosing a poem or verse for a life celebration, funeral or memorial service you will first want to consider where you plan to use the poems and verses. Today, many people are going beyond just prayer cards and bookmarks and creating memorial service folders and various memorial favors. You also may wish to print the same poem or verse on thank-you notes that you will send out. If you are using the verse on a small size card obviously you will want to choose a shorter poem or verse.
Next, you will want a verse that most closely captures the essence of the person. Sometimes this may even come in the form of musical verse from the person’s favorite band or singer. You may want to peruse their music selection to see if you can find some song lyrics that might be appropriate. Perhaps a family member or even a young family member could write a poem. Experts recommend writing as an effective form of grieving. Children, although very simple in their thoughts can often write very moving words.
Consider that the poem does not have to be about death but instead how they lived their lives. For example;
“To love for the sake of being loved is human,
but to love for the sake of loving is angelic.”
By Alphonse de Lamartine
Not all horses were born equal.
Some were born to win.
By Mark Twain
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of the intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know that one life has breathed easier
because you lived here.
This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Love is also a common theme;
To Those Whom I Love and Those Who Love Me
When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do
You must not tie yourself to me with tears
Be happy that I have had so many years
I gave you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness
I think you for the love each have shown
But now it is time I traveled on alone
So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust
It is only for a while that we must part
So bless the memories in your heart
I will not be far away, for life goes on
So if you need me, call and I will come
Though you can not see or touch me, I will be near
And if you listen with your heart, you will hear
All of my love around you soft and clear
Then, when you must come this way alone
I will greet you with a smile and a
Mary Alice Ramish
Love Lives On
Those we love remain with us
for love itself lives on,
and cherished memories never fade
because a loved one’s gone.
Those we love can never be
more than a thought apart,
far as long as there is memory,
they’ll live on in the heart.
If the person was religious, the most common or traditional verse for Catholic and religious services has been the 23rd Psalm.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
King James Version
The following poems and verses are more focused on death;
I Wish You Enough
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.
Death is Nothing
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other
That we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes
We enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me,
Let my name be ever the household word that
It always was.
Let it be spoken without effort,
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am
Out of sight? I am but waiting for you
For an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Canon Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)
I turn my head and look towards death now.
Feeling my way through the tunnel with the space of
emptiness and quiet.
The shimmering silence that awaits me.
This is my direction now; inward to the green pastures…
The cares of the world concern me no longer.
I have completed this life. My work is done, my
My husband is well on his hero’s journey.
I have loved much and well…
Those I leave behind, I love.
I hope I will remain in their hearts as they will
Thank you for taking such good care of me…
And all of you who have been my friends, thank you
for teaching me about love.
Karen Vervaet from “Karen’s Journal, 3 April 1993
In closing, memorial services and life celebrations are about the person that was lost and the life that they lived. It is up to you to decide what will help you and the people who attend to best remember and celebrate the life of that person.