Funeral Poems, Readings, Music, Quotations & Thoughts

Ashes in the Wild West Wind

I recently heard the last cantos of Shelley's Ode to the West Wind used at a funeral. How wonderful the lines were with their references to death, rebirth and the scattering of words and ashes in the wind, and how perfect for cremation or for a ceremony with ashes. O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, * * * Drive my dead thoughts over [...] Read more

Christina Rossetti ~ Sleeping At Last

Sleeping at Last Sleeping at last, the trouble and tumult over, Sleeping at last, the struggle and horror past, Cold and white, out of sight of friend and of lover, Sleeping at last. No more a tired heart downcast or overcast, No more pangs that wring or shifting fears that hover, Sleeping at last in a dreamless sleep locked fast. Fast asleep. [...] Read more

Robert Burns' Epitaph for a Friend

A lovely epitaph in plain language, forthright and unpretentious. An honest man here lies at rest, The friend of man, the friend of truth, The friend of age, and guide of youth: Few hearts like his, with virtue warm'd, Few heads with knowledge so inform'd; If there's another world, he lives in bliss; If there is none, he made the best of this.

From The Good Book

The Good Book is A. C Grayling's 'Secular Bible'. Much of it is a compendium of ancient writings from around the world. I suspect this bit is written by himself. The Good CH II vv i, iii-iv, vii-ix It is in the death of others that our deepest grief and greatest loss comes. To live is to have a contract with loss. The past eludes us, and carries [...] Read more

"I came like Water and like Wind I go"

In 1859 The Rubaiyat of Omar Kahayam rendered into English verse by Edward FitzGerald was published priced 5/-. It attracted no attention and in 1861 the remaining copies were put in a box on the street outside the publisher's door for sale to passers by at 1d. A copy was bought by the painter and poet Rossetti who introduced it to Swinburne and [...] Read more

He Was a Friend of Mine

I was talking with a family about Bob Dylan songs not long ago, for a man who had listened to Dylan since the Sixties. There were some obvious choices, but I liked best this one. I love the simplicity, sincerity and honesty of it.