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Sympathy Poems and Words of Comfort

Poems about death have the ability to touch the human soul in times of inconsolable grief and the loss of a loved one.

The comforting words and healing power contained in sympathy poems, sometimes also called poetry of grief or remembrance poems, are impossible to quantify, when it comes to ‘letting go’ and gaining closure.

Poems with the Power to Console, Heal & Comfort

Poetry often has the power to transcend the spoken word when it comes to coping with the pain associated with bereavement.

Significantly, written words of comfort are permanent tokens of condolence which can be cherished for all times, but particularly when someone is in the depth of despair following the death of someone close. Above all, sympathy poems and words of comfort in poetic form give us something tangible to cling to and to support us when we need it most, as well as in years to come.

Choosing Sympathy Poems and Words of Comfort

Whether you’re seeking poems about grief and loss for private solace, or sourcing appropriate poems for funeral readings, or simply looking for a suitable poem to accompany a message of condolence, your choice of poems will differ considerably, depending on the individual circumstances.

For a selection of poems about death and grieving that have stood the test of time, please click on the following link: Eulogy and Funeral Poetry Readings

Choosing Comforting Poems

Sensitivity and empathy are central to choosing sympathy poems that can assuage grief in bereavement. Moreover, an understanding of the deceased’s guiding principles and beliefs in life should always be uppermost in mind when selecting funeral poetry.

When choosing poems for public readings to commemorate the dead, it is crucial not to superimpose one’s own belief systems on the occasion. For instance, poems with a dominant religious theme would merely offer hollow words of comfort to those celebrating the life of a non-religious or Humanist individual. Conversely, poems with a secular interpretation of life and death would be wholly inappropriate for those who take comfort in their religious beliefs.

Above all, one should consider the circumstances of death. For example, when a child dies, or someone dies unexpectedly, say in tragic circumstances such as suicide, or following a long illness, one should always bear in mind that the sympathy poems and words of comfort that resonate perfectly for one person could equally exacerbate the grief of another.

Comforting Words with a Contemporary Voice

For many, in modern society, the very thought of turning to poetry in times of grief and sorrow is an alien concept; a myth, nevertheless largely perpetuated by fear of the poetic domain. In this context, the bereaved, particularly the younger generations, are turning increasingly to classic and contemporary songs and lyrics that can give alternative expression to their grief.

After all, songs with meaningful lyrics, in their simplest form, are merely poems set to music; the healing capacity of their comforting words can be just as relevant, sometimes even more so.

Useful Resource
‘Poems and Readings for Funerals’; edited by Julia Watson; published by Penguin Books Ltd.

© Funeral Services Guide

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