Sympathy Poems and Bereavement Poems

Often, bereavement poems speak the words in our hearts more eloquently than we can express them for ourselves. But picking the right piece of poetry for a friend in their time of loss can be challenging. You don’t want a sappy Hallmark jingle, but the words can’t be too dreary either. You should consider the sentiment you are expressing carefully. It is best to match the feeling of the poem to what the bereaved is feeling at that stage in their grieving process if possible. Here are some snippets from famous authors to consider:

Acknowledging the Difficulty of Letting Go

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Robert Frost (from “Reluctance”)

Offering Compassion and Encouragement

There should be no despair - though tears
May flow down like a river:
Are not the best beloved of years
Around your heart forever?

Emily Bronte (from “Sympathy”)

Celebrating a Life Lived to Its Fullest Potential:

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Mary Oliver (from “When Death Comes”)

Contemplating the Release of the Soul

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Kahlil Gibran (from “The Prophet”)

Presentation for a Sympathy Poem

Including a card inscribed with poetry along with a flower arrangement is a traditional presentation. If you have nice penmanship, copying down a grief poem by hand is especially meaningful. Or, you could have a piece done in professional calligraphy and framed. The anniversary of the loss is an especially good time to send this type of gift. The bereaved will not be as flooded with sympathy cards as they were at the time of the funeral. They will have time to reflect on and appreciate your carefully chosen grief poem.

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Poems to Provide Sympathy and Condolence

Including a card inscribed with poetry along with a flower arrangement is a traditional presentation. If you have nice penmanship, copying down a grief poem by hand is especially meaningful. Or, you could have a piece done in professional calligraphy and framed. The anniversary of the loss is an especially good time to send this type of gift as the bereaved will not be as flooded with sympathy cards as they were at the time of the funeral.