April is National Poetry Month. Poetry may not seem like the most popular art form in our world today – it’s often eclipsed by movies, pop music, even the novel if you want to stick with the printed word.
But don’t write poetry off yet – it’s far from gone, and it’s still very relevant. One of the times poetry is most cherished is in the face of a loss. As I’ve written before, when we can’t think of the right words to say to someone who is grieving, a poem can step in and express our condolences beautifully.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I’d like to share a few more of my favorite condolence poems. These are all free of copyright and can be posted in Guest Book entries (please do include the author’s name, when available, to give them proper credit for their work). You’re welcome to save them and share them when you need to give a loved one a bit of comfort. That’s what they’re for.
I Do Believe
by Jennifer Janiszewski
There is nothing I can do,
to make him come back
There are no words I can say,
that can replace he words you long to hear
There are no answers I can give,
that will satisfy your questions
There is not another soul I can introduce you to that will ever replace his
And, there is no love I can offer that will ever replace the love you shared
I can not promise your broken heart will ever be complete
I will not say it could have been worse
I will not deny it was a tragedy
I will not lie and tell you he will come back
He never really left
I do promise he hears you when you speak
I will say he loves you no matter the distance
I will not deny he is in a better place
And, I will not lie; he is waiting to greet you someday
He is every you step you take
He is in everything you do
He is the air you breathe
He is every beat of your heart
“He is like the wind. You can not see him…but you will always feel him.”
The Wind On The Downs
by Marian Allen
I like to think of you as brown and tall,
As strong and living as you used to be,
In khaki tunic, Sam Brown belt and all,
And standing there and laughing down at me.
Because they tell me, dear, that you are dead,
Because I can no longer see your face,
You have not died, it is not true, instead,
You seek adventure some other place.
I hear you laughing as you used to,
Yet loving all the things I think of you;
And knowing you are happy, should I grieve?
You follow and are watchful where I go;
How should you leave me, having loved me so?
We walked along the towpath, you and I,
Beside the sluggish-moving, still canal;
It seemed impossible that you should die;
I think of you the same and always shall.
We thought of many things and spoke of few,
And life lay all uncertainly before,
And now I walk alone and think of you,
And wonder what new kingdoms you explore.
Over the railway line, across the grass,
While up above the golden wings are spread,
Flying, ever flying overhead,
Here still I see your khaki figure pass,
And when I leave meadow, almost wait,
That you should open first the wooden gate.
Death be not proud
By John Donne
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.