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Poems & Readings,

This page holds a collection of just some of my favourite readings and poems, I update it frequently as I gather new material through the lovely families that I meet.

Poetry and readings are like paintings - they are very much a personal choice and it is so important that I help you find something that is the right 'fit' for you (If of course you want one).

 

 She Is Gone (He Is Gone)

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 will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that 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 is 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 would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

David Harkins

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 for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go. 

For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home. 

When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.

Christina Rossetti

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

Mary Fishback Powers

Beyond The Empty Chair

Look beyond the empty chair
To know a life well spent
Look beyond the solitude
To days of true content
Cherish in your broken heart
Each moment gladly shared
And feel the touch of memory
Beyond the empty chair.

 

 

All Is Well

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
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 effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.

Oliver Wright 

Afterglow

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

Helen Lowrie Marshall

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep. 

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain. 

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night. 

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!)

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Intimations of Immortality

This bereavement poem is one which aims to lift the sorrows of mourners, and remind them that death does not have to be the end.

Intimations of Immortality

What though the radiance which was once so bright~
Be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.

William Wordsworth

Life Well Lived

A life well lived is a precious gift,
of hope and strength and grace,
from someone who has made our world
a brighter, better place. 

It's filled with moments, sweet and sad
with smiles and sometimes tears,
with friendships formed and good times shared,
and laughter through the years. 

A life well lived is a legacy,
of joy and pride and pleasure,
a living, lasting memory
our grateful heart's will treasure. 

Author Unknown

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears,

but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

Linda Ellis

I carry your heart with me

I carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart) 

E.E Cummings

Something Beautiful Remains

The tide recedes but leaves behind
bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle
warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, and yet it echoes
on in sweet refrains.....
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.

Author Unknown

Today

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry,
two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
One of these days is Yesterday
with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.
Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.
We cannot undo a single act we performed;
we cannot erase a single word we said.
Yesterday is gone.
The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow
with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control.
Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendour or behind a mask of clouds –
but it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.
This leaves only one day – Today.
Any man can fight the battles of just one day.
It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities – Yesterday and tomorrow that we break down.
It is not the experience of Today that drives men mad –
it is remorse and bitterness for something which happened Yesterday
and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

Instructions

When I have moved beyond you in the adventure of life,
Gather in some pleasant place and there remember me
With spoken words, old and new.

Let a tear if you will, but let a smile come quickly
For I have loved the laughter of life.

Do not linger too long with your solemnities.

Go eat and talk, and when you can;
Follow a woodland trail, climb a high mountain,
Walk along the wild seashore,
Chew the thoughts of some book
Which challenges your soul.

Use your hands some bright day
To make a thing of beauty
Or to lift someone’s heavy load.

Though you mention not my name,
Though no thought of me crosses your mind,
I shall be with you,
For these have been the realities of my life for me.

And when you face some crisis with anguish.

When you walk alone with courage,
When you choose your path of right,
I shall be very close to you.

I have followed the valleys,
I have climbed the heights of life.

By Arnold Crompton

William Wordsworth

Winnie the pooh

If ever there is a tomorrow when we're not together there is something you must always remember…

You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

But the most important thing is even if we are apart I'll always be with you.

A.A.Milne

Last Journey

There is a train at the station
With a seat reserved just for me
I'm excited about its destination
As I’ve heard it sets you free

The trials and tribulations
The pain and stress we breathe
Don't exist where I am going
Only happiness I believe

I hope that you will be there
To wish me on my way
It's not a journey you can join in
It’s not your time today

There'll be many destinations
Some are happy, some are sad
Each one a brief reminder
Of the great times that we've had

Many friends I know are waiting
Who took an earlier train
To greet and reassure me
That nothing has really changed

We’ll take the time together
To catch up on the past
To build a new beginning
One that will always last

One day you'll take your journey
On the train just like me
And I promise that I'll be there
At the station and you will see

That life is just a journey
Enriched by those you meet
No-one can take that from you
It's always yours to keep

But now as no seat is vacant
You will have to muddle through
Make sure you fulfil your ambitions
As you know I’ll be watching you

And if there’s an occasion
To mention who you knew
Speak kindly of that person
As one day it will be you

Now I can’t except this ending
And as it's time for me to leave
Please make haste to the reception
To enjoy my drinks, they're free!

Timothy Coote

You’ve Just Walked On Ahead of Me

And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.

‘One At Rest’ (Anon)

Think of me as one at rest,

for me you should not weep

I have no pain no troubled thoughts

for I am just asleep

The living thinking me that was,

is now forever still

And life goes on without me now,

as time forever will.

If your heart is heavy now

because I’ve gone away

Dwell not long upon it friend

For none of us can stay

 

Those of you who liked me,

I sincerely thank you all

And those of you who loved me,

I thank you most of all.

And in my fleeting lifespan,

as time went rushing by

I found some time to hesitate,

to laugh, to love, to cry

 

Matters it now if time began

If time will ever cease?

I was here, I used it all,

and now I am at peace.

At times like this
We may look through books
For the perfect words
To give form to our feelings,
Make the thing complete,
Set the matter at rest.
But in the hours of searching
Each piece lies rejected:
Too precise, too difficult,
Too harsh, not relevant,
Implying what we do not wish.

But look into the grey wide sky,
And the thoughts will come
Like this –
Remember me when I loved you most
And you loved me most.
Remember me when I was my bravest,
And when I did you right.
Then let that be our secret bond,
And just once let us rise in the morning
And enjoy the light,
And know that the bird in the mist
Is returning to the sun.
David Lott

 

 

So Many Different Lengths of Time

How long does a man live after all?
A thousand days or only one?
One week or a few centuries?
How long does a man spend living or dying
and what do we mean when we say gone forever?

Adrift in such preoccupations, we seek clarification.
We can go to the philosophers
but they will weary of our questions.
We can go to the priests and rabbis
but they might be busy with administrations.

So, how long does a man live after all?
And how much does he live while he lives?
We fret and ask so many questions -
then when it comes to us
the answer is so simple after all.

A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us,
for as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams,
for as long as we ourselves live,
holding memories in common, a man lives.

His lover will carry his man’s scent, his touch:
his children will carry the weight of his love.
One friend will carry his arguments,
another will hum his favourite tunes,
another will still share his terrors.

And the days will pass with baffled faces,
then the weeks, then the months,
then there will be a day when no question is asked,
and the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach
and the puffed faces will calm.
And on that day he will not have ceased
but will have ceased to be separated by death.

How long does a man live after all?
A man lives so many different lengths of time.

Brian Patten/Pablo Neruda

 

 

Remember Only My Best

When I come to the end of my journey

And I travel my last weary mile,

Just forget if you can any frowns –

And remember only my smile.

 

Forget any dark words spoken,

But remember the good I have done.

Forget that there ever was heartache,

Just remember the laughter and fun.

 

Forget that I stumbled and blundered

And sometimes fell by the way;

Remember – I fought some hard battles,

And won some, by close of the day.

 

So do not grieve for my going,

And don’t be sad for a day,

But in Summer just gather some flowers

And come to the place where I lay,

 

And then in the shade of the evening,

When the sun paints the sky in the west;

Stand for a moment beside me –

And remember only my best.

Anon

 

In Memory of Anyone Unknown to Me
At this particular time I have no one
Particular person to grieve for, though there must
Be many, many unknown ones going to dust
Slowly, not remembered for what they have done
Or left undone. For these, then, I will grieve
Being impartial, unable to deceive.

How they lived, or died, is quite unknown,
And, by that fact gives my grief purity--
An important person quite apart from me
Or one obscure who drifted down alone.
Both or all I remember, have a place.
For these I never encountered face to face.
Sentiment will creep in. I cast it out
Wishing to give these classical repose,
No epitaph, no poppy and no rose
From me, and certainly no wish to learn about
The way they lived or died. In earth or fire
They are gone. Simply because they were human, I admire.

Elizabeth Jennings

Remember Me

To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea – remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty – remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity – remember me.
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, your memories of the times we loved,
The times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.

Margaret Mead

 

The Comfort and Sweetness of Peace

After the clouds, the sunshine,
after the winter, the spring,
after the shower, the rainbow,
for life is a changeable thing.
After the night, the morning,
bidding all darkness cease,
after life’s cares and sorrows,
the comfort and sweetness of peace.

Helen Steiner Rice

 

Untitled

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go
Into the dance of the stars and the planets
We let you go
Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star maker
We let you go
We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy
Go safely, go dancing, go running home

 

Something Beautiful Remains - Author Unknown
The tide recedes but leaves behind
bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle
warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, and yet it echoes
on in sweet refrains.....
For every joy that passes,
something beautiful remains.

Ruth Burgess 

All images © Mick Gosden

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