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FUNERAL MINISTRY IN THE PARISH OF FAWKHAM AND HARTLEY
SELECTION OF POEMS AND OTHER READINGS THAT COULD BE INCLUDED
IN A SERVICE OR IN THE ORDER OF SERVICE
section has a number of poems and some prose which have been
loosely divided up into sections. All of these are suitable
for inclusion into a funeral service, or the order of service
without nescesrily being read aloud. You may also find them a
useful way of helping you with your thoughts at this time..
UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you gave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill. R. L. Stevenson
TO THOSE I LOVE
If I should ever leave you,
Whom I love
To go along the silent way. . .
Nor speak of me with tears.
But laugh and talk of me
As if I were beside you there.
(I'd come. . .I'd come,
Could I but find a way!
But would not tears and
And grief be barriers?)
And when you hear a song
Or see a bird I loved,
Please do not let the thought of me
Be sad. . .for I am loving you
Just as I always have. . .
You were so good to me!
There are so many things
I wanted still to do. . .
So many things I wanted to say
to you. . . Remember that
I did not fear. . . It was
Just leaving you
That was so hard to face.
We cannot see beyond. . .
But this I know:
I loved you so. . .
'twas heaven here with you! Isla Paschal Richardson.
If I should die before the rest of you,
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone.
Nor, when I'm gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must,
Parting is hell.
But life goes on,
So……..sing as well. Joyce Grenfell
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 our future that you plann'd:
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. Christina Rossetti
GONE FROM MY SIGHT
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says;
There, she is gone!"
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, "There, she is gone!"
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad
Here she comes!"
And that is dying. Henry Van Dyke
IF I SHOULD DIE
If I should die and leave you
Be not like others, quick undone
Who keep long vigil by the silent
dust and weep.
For my sake turn to life and smile
Nerving thy heart and trembling
hand to comfort weaker souls than thee.
Complete these unfinished tasks of mine
And I perchance may therein comfort thee. Thomas Gray
We can shed tears because they have gone;
or we can smile because they have lived.
We can close our eyes and pray that they will come back;
or we can open our eyes and see all that they have left.
Our heart can be empty because we can’t see them;
or we can be full of the love we’ve shared.
We can turn our back on tomorrow and live for yesterday
or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
We can remember them and only that they’ve gone
or we can cherish their memory and let it live on.
We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our back
Or we can do what they’d want: smile, open our eyes, love and
With my death I have 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. 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 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 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. Henry Scott Holland
Peace Of Death
MARGARITÆ SORORI A LATE lark twitters from the quiet skies;
And from the west,
Where the sun, his day's work ended,
Lingers as in content,
There falls on the old, grey city
An influence luminous and serene,
A shining peace.
The smoke ascends
In a rosy-and-golden haze. The spires
Shine, and are changed. In the valley
Shadows rise. The lark sings on. The sun,
Closing his benediction,
Sinks, and the darkening air
Thrills with a sense of the triumphing night-
Night with her train of stars
And her great gift of sleep.
So be my passing!
My task accomplished and the long day done,
My wages taken, and in my heart
Some late lark singing,
Let me be gathered to the quiet west,
The sundown splendid and serene,
Death. W. E. Henley
Goodnight; ensured release,
Have these for yours,
While sea abides, and land,
And earth’s foundations stand,
And heaven endures.
When earth’s foundations flee,
Nor sky nor land nor sea
At all is found,
Content you, let them burn:
It is not your concern;
Sleep on, sleep sound. A. E. Housman
Those Who Die Young
FAIR daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.
Until the hasting day
But to the evensong;
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.
We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again. Robert Herrick
Extract From: IN MEMORIAM F. A. S.
Doomed to know not Winter, only Spring, a being
Trod the flowery April blithely for awhile,
Took his fill of music, joy of thought and seeing,
Came and stayed and went, nor ever ceased to smile.
Came and stayed and went, and now when all is finished,
You alone have crossed the melancholy stream,
Yours the pang, but his, O his, the undiminished
Undecaying gladness, undeparted dream. R. L. Stevenson
FROM A SONNET
LIKE as the waves make towards the pebbled shore
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
Crooked eclipses ’gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand. William Shakespeare
CITIES AND THRONES AND POWERS CITIES and Thrones and Powers,
Stand in Time’s eye,
Almost as long as flowers,
Which daily die:
But, as new buds put forth
To glad new men,
Out of the spent and unconsidered Earth,
The Cities rise again.
This season’s Daffodil,
She never hears,
What change, what chance, what chill,
Cut down last year’s;
But with bold countenance,
And knowledge small,
Esteems her seven days’ continuance,
To be perpetual.
So Time that is o’er-kind,
To all that be,
Ordains us e’en as blind,
As bold as she:
That in our very death,
And burial sure,
Shadow to shadow, well persuaded, saith,
See how our works endure!” Rudyard Kipling
Pain of Separation
SONG IX, FROM TWELVE SONGS
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 the airplanes circle, mourning overhead,
Scribbling on the sky, "he is dead".
Put crepe bows 'round the necks of the public doves;
Let traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my north, my south, my east and west;
My working week, my Sunday best;
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song.
I thought that love would last forever, ... I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now, put out every one.
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Put away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good. W. H. Auden