Thoughtful Poems on Death

Poems on Death - Paper Butterfly on Tree Trunk
Image by Idearriba from Pixabay

Poems on death can extraordinarily express emotion in celebrating a person's passing. You can use one to begin a eulogy speech or read the verse aloud at the memorial.

Here is a small selection of touching verses that you may wish to use, followed by some quotes that you could incorporate into a eulogy should you be required to deliver one.


I cannot say and I will not say
That she is dead, she is just away.
With a cheery smile and a wave of hand
She has wandered into an unknown land;
And left us dreaming how very fair
Its needs must be, since she lingers there.
And you-oh you, who the wildest yearn
From the old-time step and the glad return -
Think of her faring on, as dear
In the love of there, as the love of here
Think of her still the same way, I say;
She is not dead, she is just away.

~ James Whitcomb Riley

All Return Again

It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not
die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again.
Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals
and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the
window, sound and well, in some new strange disguise. Jesus is not
dead; he is very well alive; nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor
Aristotle; at times we believe we have seen them all, and could
easily tell the names under which they go.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Longer Poems on Death

When I Die...

When I die
When my coffin
is being taken out
you must never think
I am missing this world

don't shed any tears
don't lament or
feel sorry
I'm not falling
into a monster's abyss

when you see
my corpse is being carried
don't cry for my leaving
I'm not leaving
I'm arriving at eternal love

when you leave me
in the grave
don't say goodbye
remember a grave is
only a curtain
for the paradise behind

you'll only see me
descending into a grave
now watch me rise
how can there be an end
when the sun sets or
the moon goes down

it looks like the end
it seems like a sunset
but in reality it is a dawn
when the grave locks you up
that is when your soul is freed

have you ever seen
a seed fallen to earth
not rise with a new life
why should you doubt the rise
of a seed named human

have you ever seen
a bucket lowered into a well
coming back empty
why lament for a soul
when it can come back
like Joseph from the well

when for the last time
you close your mouth
your words and soul
will belong to the world of
no place no time

~ Rumi

A Reminiscence

YES, thou art gone! and never more
Thy sunny smile shall gladden me;
But I may pass the old church door,
And pace the floor that covers thee,

May stand upon the cold, damp stone,
And think that, frozen, lies below
The lightest heart that I have known,
The kindest I shall ever know.

Yet, though I cannot see thee more,
'Tis still a comfort to have seen;
And though thy transient life is o'er,
'Tis sweet to think that thou hast been;

To think a soul so near divine,
Within a form so angel fair,
United to a heart like thine,
Has gladdened once our humble sphere.

~Anne Bronte

Death Be Not Proud

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

~John Donne

Do not stand at my grave and weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

~ Mary Frye

Poems on death

Visitor Submitted Poems

My Poem on Death,

submitted by Eileen Diamond

He is gone.

I do not understand.

I only know that as he turned to go

And waved his hand

In his young eyes

A sudden glory shone

And I was dazzled

By a sunset glow.

And he was gone.

 - W.W.Gibson

My Poem on Death,

submitted by Bernard Olugbeminiy

I'm getting senescent and death is drawing closer

Very soon my transient life will be over

Sooner than I think my mortal coil would be laid to rest,

My precious soul would be gripped by the cold hands of death

Thinking of when I'll bid my final goodbye

When my loved ones would gather around to cry

Six feet deep my corpse would lay

Buried and covered with plenty of clay

The beauty of life I'ld no longer see

Pain sorrow and joy would forever seize

A mark to my journey of eternity

Then, my wildest dream would become a reality.

 - Olugbeminiyi O Bernard

My Poem on Death,
submitted by Eileen Diamond

The Going
(To The Memory of Rupert Brooke)

He's gone.
I do not understand.
I only know
That as he turned to go
And waved his hand
In his young eyes a sudden glory shone:
And I was dazzled by a sunset glow,
And he was gone.

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878-1962)

Quotes on Death

Consider using a shorter quote on death when the longer poems on death seem less appropriate for the circumstances or relationship to the beloved.

Instead of using poems on death in your eulogy speech you might want to choose a quote instead.

Fear not death, for the sooner we die the longer we shall be immortal.

Benjamin Franklin


For what is it to die, but to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, then we shall truly dance.

Kahlil Gibran


Death is the most beautiful adventure in life.

Charles Frohman


A man is not completely born until he is dead.

Benjamin Franklin


Is death the last sleep? No - it is the last and final awakening.

Sir Walter Scott


Death is simply a shedding of the physical body, like the butterfly coming out of a cocoon. It is a transition into a higher state of consciousness, where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, to be able to grow, and the only thing you lose is something you don't need anymore... your physical body. It's like putting away your winter coat when spring comes.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Please feel free to use the form below to submit poems on death or a quote on death that has touched you. It might help someone else cope with the loss of a loved one, always a difficult time.

Submit Your Poem or Quote

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