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Should You Write Your Own Poem to Read at a Funeral?

By Thomas Alan Lampsen

Should you write your own poem to read at a funeral or should you rely on professionally-authored verse? There are strong arguments in favor of "homegrown" poems and equally valid reasons to utilize expert poetry. The best answer to the question may not involve choosing one over the other at all.

If you feel as though you can add something of meaning to a memorial ceremony by delivering your own funeral poetry, you may want to do just that. Admittedly, unless you're highly trained as a writer, your poem will probably not be "perfect". It may actually be clunky, maudlin, cliche-riddled and altogether inferior. It will, however, have heart. It will be yours and it will convey your feelings. That has value--both to you and to those assembled for the funeral. It will be an emotional truth in a setting too often dominated by false sentiment.

If you do decide to use your own poem at a funeral you may want to supplement it with the use of a classic funeral poem or some other well-regarded verse. A good memorial poem by a trained artists will convey ideas and concepts with a certain elegance and grace that most (and I say "most" because there are undoubtedly many fine poets "waiting to happen" out there) written-for-the occasion poems won't rival.

So, the best solution for those who feel the urge to write their own poem to read at a funeral is not to abandon the idea of self-expression. Instead, he or she can use the poem while also using a classic uplifting funeral poem.

There's no reason to ever make a funeral impersonal. The inclusion of your own words may uniquely contribute to a meaningful memorial. So will the use of some of the truly great poetry that has been written by the very best--material that comes directly from the soul and that communicates strongly to it.

Thomas Alan Lampsen maintains Funeral Poems and Eulogies, where you can find wonderful funeral poems and more assistance.

You can find the right words. Visit Thomas' website for free funeral poems and resources to help you create a perfect memorial.


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