Guide to Readings and Poems for Funeral Ceremonies

Whether you’re planning in advance or looking for the proper tribute for a loved one, here you will find suggested readings for numerous occasions and in a variety of forms and styles. A memorial reading can be chosen because it was a favorite, triggers memories of the deceased, pays tribute or helps family and friends communicate emotions.

Scripture, Poetry or Quotations

A religious person may prefer a reading from scriptures. A non-religious person may want an excerpt from a novel, film or philosophical teaching. And since poetry is often able to express difficult emotions, there are dozens of poems that are appropriate to use – even by people who normally do not have an interest in poetry. We also suggest quotes that can be used to make a program or memorial card even more meaningful.

Our suggestions include funeral readings appropriate for particular circumstances, such as:

  • Death of a parent, spouse or child
  • Unexpected death and suicide
  • Death following a long illness
  • African American funerals
  • American Indian funerals
  • Military funerals

Get Ideas for Original Compositions

You may also consider customizing a service with an original story or poem. In the past, royalty and the upper classes often had poems written to honor their memory or that of a loved one. Either way, browsing these selections will offer many ideas for an appropriate reading.

Our suggested funeral readings are organized by type:

Poetry Readings
Quotations
Scripture Readings
Secular Readings