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Embracing Life and Loss: 10 Poems About Death That Bring Comfort

Poetry has a unique ability to express emotions and thoughts that are often difficult to articulate through other means. When it comes to the universal experience of death, poems have a way of touching our hearts and minds in profound ways.

 

Here are 10 exquisite and soothing poems that delve into the themes of death and dying, offering solace and wisdom to those grappling with loss and grief.

 


1.      "Immortality" by Clare Harner This poignant poem speaks of finding the presence of a departed loved one in the beauty of the world around us. It reassures us that though they may have left their earthly form, their essence persists in nature and in our hearts.

 

Do not stand

By my grave, and weep.

I am not there,

I do not sleep—

I am the thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints in snow

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle, autumn rain.

As you awake with morning’s hush,

I am the swift, up-flinging rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight,

I am the day transcending night.

Do not stand

By my grave, and cry—

I am not there,

I did not die.

 

2.      "There Is No Night Without A Dawning" by Helen Steiner Rice Reminding us that grief is temporary, this poem conveys the message that those who have passed on have found peace in a brighter realm. It offers hope and comfort to those mourning a loss.


There is no night without a dawning

No winter without a spring

And beyond the dark horizon

Our hearts will once more sing…

For those who leave us for a while

Have only gone away

Out of a restless, care worn world

Into a brighter day.

 

3.      "Turn Again To Life" by Mary Lee Hall A powerful poem urging us to embrace life even in the face of death. It encourages us to find solace in helping others and carrying on the legacy of those who have departed.


If I should die and leave you here a while,

be not like others sore undone, who keep

long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.

For my sake – turn again to life and smile,

nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do

something to comfort weaker hearts than thine.

Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine

and I, perchance may therein comfort you.

 

4.      "Farewell" by Anne Bronte Encouraging us to cherish memories and hold onto hope, this poem celebrates the enduring presence of loved ones in our hearts and minds, even after they are gone.


Farewell to thee! but not farewell

To all my fondest thoughts of thee:

Within my heart they still shall dwell;

And they shall cheer and comfort me.

 

O, beautiful, and full of grace!

If thou hadst never met mine eye,

I had not dreamed a living face

Could fancied charms so far outvie.

 

If I may ne’er behold again

That form and face so dear to me,

Nor hear thy voice, still would I fain

Preserve, for aye, their memory.

 

That voice, the magic of whose tone

Can wake an echo in my breast,

Creating feelings that, alone,

Can make my tranced spirit blest.

 

That laughing eye, whose sunny beam

My memory would not cherish less; —

And oh, that smile! whose joyous gleam

Nor mortal language can express.

 

Adieu, but let me cherish, still,

The hope with which I cannot part.

Contempt may wound, and coldness chill,

But still it lingers in my heart.

 

And who can tell but Heaven, at last,

May answer all my thousand prayers,

And bid the future pay the past

With joy for anguish, smiles for tears?

 

5.      "If I Should Go" by Joyce Grenfell A reminder to those left behind to continue living fully and authentically in the wake of a loss. It emphasizes the importance of resilience and joy in the face of sorrow.


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.

 


6.      "I Felt An Angel" (Author Unknown) A touching poem that portrays the comforting presence of a departed loved one as an angel watching over us. It highlights the eternal bond we share with those who have passed on.


I felt an angel near today, though one I could not see

I felt an angel oh so close, sent to comfort me

 

I felt an angel’s kiss, soft upon my cheek

And oh, without a single word of caring did it speak

 

I felt an angel’s loving touch, soft upon my heart

And with that touch, I felt the pain and hurt within depart

 

I felt an angel’s tepid tears, fall softly next to mine

And knew that as those tears did dry a new day would be mine

 

I felt an angel’s silken wings enfold me with pure love

And felt a strength within me grow, a strength sent from above

 

I felt an angel oh so close, though one I could not see

I felt an angel near today, sent to comfort me.

 

7.      "His Journey’s Just Begun" by Ellen Brenneman Viewing death as a transition rather than an end, this poem reassures us that our departed loved ones live on in the hearts of those they touched. It offers a perspective of continuity and love beyond physical existence.


Don’t think of him as gone away

his journey’s just begun,

life holds so many facets

this earth is only one.

 

Just think of him as resting

from the sorrows and the tears

in a place of warmth and comfort

where there are no days and years.

 

Think how he must be wishing

that we could know today

how nothing but our sadness

can really pass away.

 

And think of him as living

in the hearts of those he touched…

for nothing loved is ever lost

and he was loved so much.

 

8.      "Peace My Heart" by Rabindranath Tagore Encouraging acceptance and peace in the face of loss, this poem reflects on the impermanence of life and the beauty of letting go with grace and gratitude.

 

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.

Let it not be a death but completeness.

Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.

Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.

Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.

Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.

I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light your way.

 

9.      "If I Should Go Tomorrow" (Author Unknown) A contemplation on the enduring nature of love and connection beyond death. It invites us to feel the presence and love of those we have lost in the world around us.


If I should go tomorrow

It would never be goodbye,

For I have left my heart with you,

So don’t you ever cry.

The love that’s deep within me,

Shall reach you from the stars,

You’ll feel it from the heavens,

And it will heal the scars.

 

10. "Crossing The Bar" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson Using maritime metaphors, this poem symbolizes the journey from life to death as a peaceful and tranquil transition. It conveys a sense of serenity and acceptance in facing the unknown.

 

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

 

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;

 

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crost the bar.

 

In the realm of poetry, these verses serve as a balm for the grieving soul, offering comfort, hope, and a sense of connection to something greater than ourselves. They remind us that in the face of death, there is still beauty, love, and the enduring power of memory and spirit.



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