Short Poems and Readings for Funerals

funerals

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal …
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance …
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Inside our Dreams

Where do people go to when they die?
Somewhere down below of in the sky?
‘I can’t be sure,’ Said Grandad, but it seems
They simply set up home inside our dreams.’

Jeanne Willis, (1959

Traditional Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Anon

Our revels now are ended

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

  1. William Shakespeare

Death be not Proud (Holy Sonnets: X)

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure: then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

  1. John Donne

All things pass

All things pass
A sunrise does not last all morning
All things pass
A cloudburst does not last all day
All things pass
Nor a sunset all night
All things pass

What always changes?
Earth…sky…thunder…mountain…wind…fire…lake…

These change
And if these do not last

Do man’s visions last?
Do man’s illusions?

Take things as they come

All things pass

By: Lao Tzu
translations adapted by Timothy Leary

Death is at once

Death is at once
The end of the body’s  
Old journey  
And the beginning of the soul’s
New journey.

Sri Chinmoy

The Soul

‘The soul migrates from body to body.
Weapons cannot cleave it, nor fire consume it,
 nor water drench it, nor wind dry it.
This is the soul and this is what is meant by the existence of the soul.’

- Bhagavad Gita