2. Poems to read aloud

Poems to read aloud

Poems to read at funerals, at weddings, to children & for fun

By: Susan Dugdale 

This page is a gate way to all the 'poetry' pages my site.

You'll find collections of those well known, classic, best-loved poems to read aloud for funerals, weddings and, just for fun.

There's also a step-by-step guide to help you read a poem well aloud, and another to take you through the process of a writing a free verse poem.

I hope they're useful to you. Use the quick links to find what you want. 

What's on this page

Poems to read at funerals

This collection of 15 poems, which includes two titled Remember Me; one by Christina Rosetti, and the other by Margaret Mead, contains many that may already be known to you.

They were chosen because they reflect the different ways we interpret death: what it means and how we live with it.

All of them suit being read aloud. There are audio recordings of five if you want to hear how they might sound.

Go to poems and readings for a funeral service

Water color painting: lilies of the valley flowers. Text: Poems to read at funerals

More poems to read at funerals

This collection of nine poems is similar to the one above.

Again, each of these poems reads well aloud. You'll find W. H. Auden's beautiful poem 'Funeral Blues', several by Emily Dickinson, one by Emily Bronte... 

Go to bereavement poems - inspirational funeral readings

Inspirational quotations & poems for eulogies

This is an exceedingly long page filled with a mix of quotations (long and short) and poems: wisdom from spiritual and secular writers, poets, and seers spanning many different cultures and times. 

The pieces could either stand alone or be incorporated into the text of a eulogy or funeral speech.

Go to inspirational quotations, eulogy and funeral readings

Night sky with stars
Text: Perhaps they are not stars but openings in the heaven...Inuit legend

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Readings of funeral poems

Countryside at dawn
Text: When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circling flight.

Four readings of much loved funeral poems: Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Funeral Blues, The Prayer of St Francis of Assisi and I Am Standing Upon The Seashore.

Along with the audio you'll find an overview of the ideas expressed in each poem, a little about its author and a printable of all four poems.

Go to readings of loved funeral poems

Funeral Blues by WH Auden 

Since it was featured in the enormously successful 1994 romantic comedy 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', 'Funeral Blues' (Stop All the Clocks) by WH Auden has become one the most frequently read poems at memorial services in the English-speaking world.

To read it, to listen to it, to find out more about what it means and its history, click Funeral Blues by WH AudenThere's a printable to download for your own use too.

Banner: Funeral Blues by WH Auden

Readings of 4 Remember Me funeral poems

There are at least four much loved funeral poems titled Remember Me: one by Margaret Mead, one by Christina Rossetti, one by Anthony Dowson and another by David Harkins.

To read them, listen to them and get a printable for each of them go to: Funeral poems| Remember Me

Remember Me by Anthony Dowson

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Wedding poems and readings

Another of my very long pages! This time it's a beautiful collection of classic wedding poems and readings bridging cultures and centuries. 

Give yourself time, and as you go through the page, try them out loud. And keep doing that until you find the one you want for the speech you're preparing.

Go to wedding poems and readings

Image: two people walking in the rain. Text: Now we will feel no rain, for each of us will be shelter to the other. - Apache wedding poem

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6 fabulous poems for kids of all ages to play with

Six superb poems to play with. These were favorites when I was a child. Later they became my son's favorites, and now I read them for my grand child.   

Use them with adults or children. Read them solo, as duets, trios, or as a chorus. Add costumes. Perform them live. Record them to share with friends and family.  Which ever way you go with these, they're wonderful good fun.

The page has the full text of each poem, plus suggestions for activities using them, audio (me reading the poems), and a printable of the six poems for your use.

Go to 6 fabulous classic children's poems 

Image: Jabberwocky - original illustration by John Tenniel Text: Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

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How to read a poem aloud stunningly well

There'll be times when you want to read a piece of poetry aloud. Maybe it's a poem to celebrate a friend's milestone birthday, a poem expressing what you want to say about love at a wedding of someone close to you, or a poem as part of a funeral service.

If you're unsure about how to tackle the task, this page will guide you step by step through what you need to know, and do, to read a poem well. (Even stunningly, if you put the work in!) There's audio examples too!

Go to how to read a poem aloud

Line drawing - Prologue - Poetry reading by Ted & Jen - Flickr

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How to write a poem (in free verse)

Do you want to contribute an original poem to a celebratory event? One expressing your own thoughts and feelings? Perhaps it's to be part of a special occasion speech for a wedding, engagement, birthday, retirement or funeral?

This page will take you step by step from beginning to end through the process of writing a poem in free verse. You'll find examples, plus audio. Yes, you can do it!

Go to how to write a free verse poem

Image: water-color background with trees. Text: Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry. Quote: Muriel Rukeyser.

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Why we search for poems to read aloud: the role of poetry in our lives

Have you ever wondered why, when a major life-changing event happens in our lives, we look to poetry for solace and an explanation? There are several reasons why. 

One is that we feel the right poem honors or dignifies its subject. 

Another is that a poem often grapples with the big themes: death, love, life, birth and the universe. It connects, unifies and makes sense of them for us.

Both of these reasons are timeless and universal. (Pre-literacy poetry was the principal way a culture's knowledge was memorized and shared.)

When we find just the right poem to read aloud, we allow the poet to speak on our behalf. We borrow the poem's presence; its essential qualities, for example its elegance, eloquence, grace, wit and understanding and re-gift it to our listeners.

The right poem strips away the superfluous and goes straight to the heart: of the matter and of the listener. 

It is immediate, intimate, and effective. It voices the things we cannot, in a way we cannot - without umming, ahhing, and eyes rolling skyward while scrabbling for words. 

So we have poems to read aloud to mark weddings, to honor a death, to celebrate a birth, to tell our important stories about the laughter, joy, sorrow and sadness of being alive, of being human. 

And we have them for fun - because they sound good, because they're a flummery of whimsy and nonsense, because they're irreverent, because they make us laugh...

Poetry is one of life's essentials. We need it.

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