When your dad has died, you might want to honour his life and legacy by reciting a memorial verse or poem at the funeral service. During a difficult time, it might be a struggle to find the right words to express what he meant to you.
Whether you are looking for inspiration to help you pen a few special words in an eulogy or looking to something meaningful to say, here are touching collection of funeral poems and memorial verses for a dad that can help.
If – by Rudyard Kipling
Written in the form of advice from father to son, this philosophical poem (or a verse or two) by Rudyard Kipling can be dedicated to an inspiring father who lived by these words and inspired others to do the same. It is a powerful choice of a funeral poem for Dad.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
A verse from Shakespeare
Perhaps your dad was known and admired for his courage, grit and honesty.
This Shakespeare quote for a funeral, taken from a speech by Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, could be a great choice of funeral verse for dad.
His life was gentle; and the elements
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up,
And say to all the world, "This was a man!"
What is Success? – By Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote from American philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson can easily be used as short memorial verse to start or end an eulogy for dad.
It might specially resonate with those whose life has been touched by their father’s desire to make a difference to other people or the wider community.
What Is Success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends
To appreciate beauty
To find the best in others
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition
To know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here.
This is to have succeeded.
When Through One Man – by Alfred Delp
These words written by Jesuit priest Alfred Delp are perfect if your father touched people’s lives with his loving and caring personality
When through that one man
A little more love and goodness, a little more light and truth comes into the world,
Then that man’s life
Has had meaning.
You raise me up – by Brendan Graham
These heartfelt lyrics were written by Irish songwriter Brendan Graham and made popular by singer Josh Groban’s hit version in 2003. It pays tribute to a father’s unconditional love.
Whether your choose to sing or recite it, it is a truly lovely choice of a funeral poem for your dad.
When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary,
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be,
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains,
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders,
You raise me up to more than I can be.
The little boy lost - William Blake
This short memorial verse from William Blake is a simple but profound expression of loss. It beautifully captures the heartbreak of a son whose father may have died young.
Father, father, where are you going
O do not walk so fast.
Speak father, speak to your little boy
Or else I shall be lost..."
Short memorial quotes for dad
“It doesn’t matter who my father was. It matters who I remember he was” – Anne Sexton.
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me” – Jim Valvano.
“My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it” – Clarence Budington Kelland.
- If you are planning to speak at a loved one’s funeral service, view our collection of funeral poems for inspiration.