Poetry for Grief and Mourning

Poems about death and dying, love and loss, grieving and healing


When someone you love dies, the grief you feel can be overwhelming. Some find writing poetry or keeping a journal to be a helpful way to express emotions while grieving. Sometimes, just reading a beautiful poem or elegy can bring comfort. Here are a few poems on death, dying and the grief that follows that may provide inspiration, comfort or catharsis as you mourn. Please feel free to share your own original poems of grief, loss, death, dying in the comments section below.

1914, V. the Soldier

The Angel of Patience

Annabel Lee

April Rain Song

The bustle in the house

The Christian's Goodnight

Consolation

Crossing the Bar

The Day is Done

Dulce et Decorum Est

Epitaph

Genealogy

The House of Life: 73. The Choice, III

The Little White Hearse

Nature

The Old Familiar Faces

Only a Dad

Rain on a Grave

A Reminiscence

The Sailor's Grave at Cloo-ose, V.I.

Spirits of the Dead

There Will Come Soft Rains

The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls

Vigil Strange I Kept on a Field One Night

Warm Summer Sun



Images via Flickr Creative Commons. Top: Pankaj Kaushal. Bottom: alessandro silipo.

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Comment by Rebecca Church on November 8, 2017 at 12:00pm

Holidays Without You

 

The table won't be set for the family Christmas feast,

Nor will Mom be hanging the usual Christmas wreaths.

 

The decorations won't be hung by the chimney with care,

There won't be Thanksgiving snow or crisp clean Christmas air.

 

The yule log won't be lit nor the fire all aglow,

There will be no Christmas Carols being sung out in the snow.

 

There will be no tree to light nor to decorate,

No cookies baking in the oven, no food for Holiday plates.

 

Presents will not be selected with anticipation of the giving,

and our only Christmas wish is that you were still of the living.

 

Wish lists won't be needed and last minute shopping wont be done,

What good are lists and shopping if we can't be with our loved one.

 

There will be no reminiscing of Christmas's gone by,

All of our energy will be put into trying not to cry.

 

Christmas morning will not exist the way it was before,

The hurt will be just too much, knowing your not coming through the door.

 

The anticipation of fun and cheer will not take place this year,

And I wonder now, if it ever will again, how can it without you here?

 

So, although we wish it would not come, it's inevitably going to transpire,

In my heart, and head and home, Christmas no longer is desired.

 

As these Holidays come to pass and the usual songs start to play,

My tears will fall, my heart will break as we get closer to the Holidays.

 

I'll bow my head and say a prayer to the Angels he's now with up above,

To look after my brother Timmy and surround him with God's love.

 

Let his first Christmas be spent with loved ones that went before,

let him play the Christmas songs on his guitar like Christmas's of yore.

 

Let his plate be full of Holiday food and all the Christmas joys,

And may God hold him in his arms real tight just like Mom did when he was a boy.

 

I have already made my wish list for this year,

It will always stay the same as each Christmas draws near.

 

There is only one item written on my list,

Only one thing I will ever wish,

 

My wish is that you come home and show me your Irish smile,

That you'll stay, laugh and hug me, even if it's only for a while.

 

So here is my Christmas hug to my Brother up above,

I hope you know how much you’re missed and how deeply you will always be loved.

 

Written by Rebecca Church for Tim

 

Comment by Rebecca Church on November 8, 2017 at 11:55am

written by Rebecca Church for my dear Big brother Tim:

Doesn’t Anyone Realize?

Stop the rain,
shade all the sun,
put out the stars
one by one.

Make the grass stop growing,
flowers go to bed.
Doesn't anyone realize,
my dear Brother is dead?

Close up the shops,
shut down the stores,
seal up the shutters,
and lock up the doors.

Turn off the radios,
birds go to bed,
Doesn't anyone realize
my dear Brother is dead?

Stop all the clocks,
turn off the phone,
tell all the neighbors
that no one is home.

Shut all the drapes,
turn down the beds,
Doesn't anyone realize,
my dear brother is dead?

Tell the moon to stop glowing
clouds stop moving the sky,
lightening bugs to stop blinking
frogs please stop chirping your cry.

Please tell my heart to stop wheeping,
please tell my tears not to shed
Doesn't anyone realize
my dear Brother is dead?

Comment by Patrick Roth on April 14, 2017 at 10:38pm

Just under the skin

Just under the skin, below the scar, is a tender spot that never quite heals.

The scar is as deceiving as the wound. Many think by now it would be healed. And the scar, it appears healed. The skin is toughened up. The nerves maybe are not quite as sensitive as they used to be. But that is on top. Not just under the skin.

I should say that differently – many think by now it should have healed. If they really thought about it, they might be able to figure out the truth. But maybe without going through it all, one cannot understand what lies just under the skin.

Others that never received such a wound; well, they just don’t understand. How can they? They want to compare your wound to something from their own lives. Of course, they are not trying to be mean. Quite the opposite. They are trying to connect with you. Trying to say, as you suffer through this pain, you are not alone. So maybe you smile on the surface. But not just under the skin.

The others don’t realize how woefully inadequate their comparison is. Well, some have an idea it may be a different. But they prattle on as they try to make that connection. Trying to be there to suffer with you. Infuriating. This can be completely infuriating. Do you show that? I don’t often. But it is there. Just under the skin.

Sometimes I smile back. Sometimes I just stare. Sometimes I just avoid. One friend who thought he understood did understand one thing. You don’t suffer fools gladly. There is no longer time for that. Really, there is no more energy for that. It is all used up trying to keep yourself together. To keep on with everything else but sometimes you can’t keep it hidden. No longer just under the skin.

Times may be difficult and some friends may stay and others go. That is fine. As you recall, you don’t suffer fools gladly. But to help yourself and to be there to help others, you need to let people in. You cannot just have skin-deep friends – surface friends. The friendship must go deeper; must have some depth to the relationship. It may start slowly. It may even be just under the skin.

And then one day, and you may not know quite when or how, the depth of love and friendship grows. No words need to be expressed. Just a look or a hug is all it takes. Just being there makes everything better. And it may not matter if you see the friend once a week or once a year, the deep friendships endure. They are definitely no longer just under the skin.

That tender spot is still there. Not only do you expect it will never quiet heal but you accept it never will. Some days the twinge of pain will be just the slightest. Other times will be as new. But you know as friendships and love endures, that tender spot is okay. Just under the skin.

Comment by Karen W on March 8, 2014 at 10:27am
You are my sun and my moon. How will I find my way without you?
I will spend my days longing for the reunion of our heart and the recoupling of our soul, for surely we have shared each in this life and without you, I am incomplete.
Comment by LAURA FONTES on February 2, 2014 at 2:31pm

THANKS  SO MUCH  EVERY ONE .     YOU ARE GOOD PEOPLE  AN  I AM GLAD FOR THAT  .

Comment by LAURA FONTES on February 2, 2014 at 2:30pm

I AM TRY NG   TO   JUST BE ME DAY BY DAY  AT TIMES MY MIND GETS SO CONFUSED , I JUST WANT TO SCREAM   !   not sure any one  understands that at all . 

Comment by LAURA FONTES on February 2, 2014 at 2:25pm

SUPER BOWL  SUNDAY   ,    MY SON WOULD  OF LIKE WATCHING THE GAME  , NEVER HAD A  TEAM  WOULD  JUST LIKE DIFFERENT PLAYERS  .   I SEE MY SON  AN HE TELLS ME MOTHER  I AM OKAY   I AM WITH YOU AN MELISSA ALWAYS .

Comment by LAURA FONTES on February 2, 2014 at 2:22pm

My son  was a wonderful person  and had a smile  just like me  .   thanks for your words  ,    its going to take me time an time  , this was my SON   who was  someone close to me  an closer .    BLESSINGS TO ALL !     

Comment by LAURA FONTES on February 2, 2014 at 2:18pm

thanks,   to all who have left  a comment  an there nice stories

Comment by Janelle on February 2, 2014 at 11:31am
When I got up and tried to leave, mom would hold on tight to my flannel sleeve.
Even when she'd be asleep and I wouldn't make a single peep, she knew if I left the room, and she call out " will you be back soon ?" She seemed to always want me there, by the bed or near her chair. I'm getting used to all of this, and it feels good to be so missed .I know soon that she'll have to go, I hope she knows I loved her so, and I pray that she won't have to leave, and she'll hold on tight to my flannel sleeve.
Comment by Ken on January 18, 2014 at 11:39pm

CHOICES

There’s a time for living, and there’s a time for dying.
There’s a time for laughing and there’s a time for crying.
As I sit here writing these words, something else , to me, occurred.
Is it time, while you’re still living, for you to do a little forgiving?
You have a choice………
Forgive the ones that made you cry or damn them til the day you die.
And, laugh all the way to the grave.

Comment by LAURA FONTES on January 18, 2014 at 8:22pm

very nice words

Comment by Ken on November 22, 2013 at 2:10pm

DESPAIR

A lonely, old man just sits in his chair, wondering...what is he doing there?

He has no ambition, and he's got no drive, just what is it that keeps him alive?

To write down an idea or maybe a thought, and think to himself....

Is this all I've got?

Comment by Denise on March 18, 2013 at 12:46pm

My Angel Forever

 

My love our  time was short

Our first kiss was but yesterday

My world quickly torn apart

You were  my Angel, in every way

 

We laughed and cried

We were challenged at times

You were always strong

My Angel…you didn’t even know

 

Oh how you loved life

That soft smile and warm laughter

Oh how you were loved

Your comforting words many sought after

I remember my Angel…I will never forget

 

My big strong man…taken too soon

We were just beginning…

Why God…I asked looking up at moon

Deep down I knew…for you always were

My Angel  then…and…My Angel Forever

 

Fly My Angel …now your free

Spread your wings….

One day I will fly with  thee

 

By Denise L McConnell

For my husband

Comment by Nikki Holmes on January 27, 2013 at 6:30am

Comment by Nikki Holmes on January 27, 2013 at 6:29am

Comment by Nikki Holmes on January 27, 2013 at 6:29am

Comment by Nikki Holmes on January 27, 2013 at 6:28am

Comment by Ken on November 30, 2012 at 2:12am

The Day You Died

 

The day you died I cried,

And I am crying still.

Until the day that I die,

I suppose I always will.

The tears just come and fill my eyes,

And never seem to stop,

I am not ashamed. I just let them drop.

Who is to say a man can’t  cry and express

just what he’s thinking?

I’d rather cry, then wipe my eyes,

Than go back to slothful drinking.

Comment by Vicki on November 28, 2012 at 1:07pm

Missing Grandpa!

Missing Grandpa at birth, although still alive. Missing Grandpa at first word, now gone. Missing Grandpa at first steps, still no sight of him. Missing Grandpa on the first day of school. Missing Grandpa through the toughest time of my life for a 5yr old. Missing Grandpa during highschool. Soon I will missing Grandpa on my graduation day, or my special day of becoming someones bride, and the celebration of my first child. On these days I'll miss him, that wonderful man he was. His absence I'll have to deal with on my own time, like I have everyday for the past 16yrs, and so on. Only, Missing Grandpa! 

~Vicki H.

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