Readings and poems – non religious

Here is a selection of readings suitable for a non-religious funeral.
Tip: To find a specific word or phrase on this page, use Control+F and enter the key word.

There are also many other collections of poems online to browse. Look at these examples:

After Glow
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an after glow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun
Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
Attributed to Helen Lowrie Marshall

 

If It Be Your Will

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all…

Leonard Cohen

 

No sorrow to die
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheek like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young Love on the lips, I have heard his song to the end.
I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.
I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.
I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I give a share of my soul to the world where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task I must leave undone.
I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.
As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
Amelia Josephine Burr

Alternative verse 3:
I give a share of my soul to the world where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task I must leave undone.
My life on this earth is over, and I come to my time of rest
Think of the ways that you knew me, and remember only my best.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
Based on a poem by Amelia Josephine Burr

A Reflection on an Autumn Day
I took up a handful of grain and let it slip flowing through my fingers, and I said to myself,
This is what it is all about. There is no longer any room for pretence. At harvest time the essence is revealed – the straw and chaff are set aside, they have done their job. The grain alone matters – sacks of pure gold.
So it is when a person dies the essence of that person is revealed. At the moment of death a person’s character stands out happy for the person who has forged it well over the years. Then it will not be the great achievement that will matter, nor, how much money or possessions a person has amassed. These, like the straw and the chaff, will be left behind. It is what he has made of himself that will matter. Death can take away from us what we have, but it cannot rob us of who we are.

I know where the garden of longing is
I’ve been there many a time
To see your beautiful smiling face
And hold your hand in mine

We walk the paths where flowers bloom
And watch the butterflies
We share some childhood memories
Of yesterday’s gone by

Many tears I’ve cried since you went away
My life has changed so much
Without you here to share with me
Or feel your gentle touch

I miss your smile, your laughter too
I miss those days gone by
I often sit and wonder
About all the reasons why.
(Author Unknown)

He has achieved success
He has achieved success who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much:
who has enjoyed the trust of pure women,
the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
who has filled the niche and accomplished his task;
who has left the world better than he found it;
whether by an improved poppy,
a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty
or failed to express it;
who has always looked for the best in others
and given the best he had.
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.
Bessie A Stanley

All men have stars
All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems …  But all these stars are silent. You, you alone will have stars as no one else has them … In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night .. You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me … You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure, it will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,  “The Little Prince”

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!)

 Turn again to life
If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone,
who keep long vigil by the silent dust.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand
to do something to comfort other hearts than mine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I perchance may therein comfort you.
Mary Lee Hall
(read at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997)

If I should die before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor, when I’m gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must
Parting is hell.
But life goes on.
So sing as well.
Joyce Grenfell

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain;

And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember
And haply may forget.
Christina Rossetti

All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal: and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There’s nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.
John Clare

Farewell My Friends

It was beautiful as long as it lasted
The journey of my life.
I have no regrets whatsoever

Save the pain I’ll leave behind.
Those dear hearts who love and care…
And the strings pulling at the heart and soul…
The strong arms that held me up
When my own strength let me down.

At every turning of my life
I came across
Good friends,
Friends who stood by me
Even when the time raced me by.

Farewell, farewell, my friends
I smile and
Bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears
For I need them not
All I need is your smile.

If you feel sad
Do think of me
For that’s what I’ll like.
When you live in the hearts
Of those you love
Remember then
You never die.
Rabindranath Tagore

When Death Knocks
On the day when death will knock at thy door,
What wilt thou offer to him ?
I will set before my guest the full vessel of my life.
I will never let him go with empty hands.
All the sweet vintage of all my autumn days
And summer nights,
All the earnings and gleanings of my busy life
Will I place before him, at the close of my day.
Rabindranath Tagore

Peace, My Heart
Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory, and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.
Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali poet and philosopher (1861 – 1941)

A wife, a mother, a grandma too,
This is the legacy we have from you.
You taught us love and how to fight,
You gave us strength, you gave us might.
A stronger person would be hard to find,
And in your heart, you were always kind.
You fought for us all in one way or another,
Not just as a wife not just as a mother.
For all of us you gave your best,
Now the time has come for you to rest.
So go in peace, you’ve earned your sleep,
Your love in our hearts, we’ll eternally keep.
Legacy of Love – Author Unknown

Parent and Child
It’s a special bond that spans the years
Through laughter, worry, smiles and tears,
A sense of trust that can’t be broken,
A depth of love sometimes unspoken,
A lifelong friendship built on sharing,
Hugs and kisses, warmth and caring,
Parent and child, their hearts as one –
A link that can never be undone.
Author: unknown         

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You’re free at last.
Charlie Daniels

Days
What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.
Philip Larkin

All Is Well
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)

Additional ending for poem above:
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)

She is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she’s gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

He is Gone
You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he’s gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Based on a poem by David Harkins.
Used at the funeral of the Queen Mother – attributed then as anonymous.

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
Henri Nouwen

Afternoon in February
The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o’er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.
Longfellow

 

Unfortunately, the poem Stop All the Clocks, from The Twelve Songs by WH Auden, which was used in the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, is copyright, and cannot be reproduced here. Click on the link to view it.

Not, How Did She Die, But How Did She Live?
Not how did she die, but how did she live?
Not what did she gain, but what did she give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a woman’s achievements, regardless of birth
Not, what was her church, nor what was her creed?
But had she befriended those really in need?
Was she ever ready, with word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when she passed away.

 

Not, How Did He Die, But How Did He Live?
Not how did he die, but how did he live?
Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away.

As We Look Back
As we look back over time
We find ourselves wondering …..
Did we remember to thank you enough
For all you have done for us?
For all the times you were by our sides
To help and support us …..
To celebrate our successes
To understand our problems
And accept our defeats?
Or for teaching us by your example,
The value of hard work, good judgement,
Courage and integrity?
We wonder if we ever thanked you
For the sacrifices you made.
To let us have the very best?
And for the simple things
Like laughter, smiles and times we shared?
If we have forgotten to show our
Gratitude enough for all the things you did,
We’re thanking you now.
And we are hoping you knew all along,
How much you meant to us.

 

Remember
Remember me when I am gone away,
gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
you tell me of the future that you planned;
Only remember me; you understand
it will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet, if you should forget me for a while
and afterwards, remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
a vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad.
Christina Rossetti.

 

Word
There is a word, of grief the sounding token.
There is a word bejewelled with bright tears.
The saddest word fond lips have ever spoken,
A little word that breaks the chain of years.
Its utterance must ever bring emotion,
The memories it crystals cannot die.
‘Tis known in every land, on every ocean,
It is Goodbye.

It is a short journey from birth until death.
Seek to enjoy the journey as much as you can.
Savour the scenery and the people you meet enroute, for it is all there is.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer –
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North
The birth place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Farewell to the mountains high cover’d with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farwell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart’s in the Highlands, whereever I go.

Burns

Dirge Without Music
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
Edna St. Vincent Millay

We are such stuff as dreams are made on …
The Tempest, III, iv

Our revels are now ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded in a sleep.
William Shakespeare

 

Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

On Death

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Kahlil Gibran

Sonnet: Our Dead

They have not gone from us. O no! They are
The inmost essence of each thing that is
Perfect for us; they flame in every star;
The trees are emerald with their presences.
They are not gone from us; they do not roam
The flaw and turmoil of the lower deep,
But have now made the whole wide world their home,
And in its loveliness themselves they steep.
They fail not ever; theirs is the diurn
Splendour of sunny hill and forest grave;
In every rainbow’s glittering drop they burn;
They dazzle in the massed clouds’ architrave;
They chant on every wind, and they return
In the long roll of any deep blue wave.

Robert Nichols

There’s magic in a Mother’s touch,
And sunshine in her smile.
There’s love in everything she does
To make our lives worthwhile.
We can find both hope and courage
Just by looking in her eyes.
Her laughter is a source of joy,
Her words are warm and wise.
There is a kindness and compassion
To be found in her embrace,
And we see the light of heaven
Shining from a Mother’s face.

Don’t tell me that you understand.
Don’t tell me that you know.
Don’t tell me that I will survive,
How I will surely grow.

Don’t come at me with answers
That can only come from me.
Don’t tell me how my grief will pass,
That I will soon be free.

Accept me in my ups and downs.
I need someone to share.
Just hold my hand and let me cry
And say, “My friend, I care”

Weep Not For Me

Weep not for me though I am gone
Into the gentle night
Grieve if you will, but not for long
Upon my souls sweet flight.

There is no need for tears.
I am at peace, my soul is at rest
There is no pain, I suffer not,
For with your love I was so blessed.

I am in a place of comfort
The fear now is gone.
Put those things out of your thoughts,
In your memory I live on.

Remember not my fight for breath
Remember not the strife
Please do not dwell upon my death
But celebrate my life

Perhaps if Death is kind, and there can be returning,
We will come back to earth some fragrant night,
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.

We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long gentle thunder of the sea,
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free.

Sara Teasdale

Leisure

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

W H Davies

A Fisherman’s Prayer. 

I pray that I may live to fish
Until my dying day
And when it comes to my last cast,
I then most humbly pray:
When in the Lord’s great landing net
And peacefully asleep
That in His mercy I be judged
Big enough to keep.

WHAT IS A FISHERMAN?
In a fast-paced world that is wrapped up on frenzy and haste, a fisherman knows how to relax. He knows the joy of solitude. He knows the tonic of silence. He’s a fisherman. A fisherman is an optimist.  He knows the big one is always out there waiting. His eyes are more tranquil than the eyes of other men. His mind is more at ease. In a busy world he has time for things. Time for things like sunsets and afternoon rainbows after a sudden shower. Fishing is the silent sport. It refreshes the soul. A fisherman is a loner.  No team-mates, no coach, no cheering section. He charts his own course, plays his own game.  He wins by himself. He loses by himself. Fishing is a one-man sport.

My Mother Kept A Garden

My Mother kept a garden.
A garden of the heart;
She planted all the good things,
That gave my life its start.

She turned me to the sunshine,
And encouraged me to dream:
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem.

And when the winds and rains came,
She protected me enough;
But not too much, she knew I’d need
To stand up strong and tough.

Her constant good example,
Always taught me right from wrong;
Markers for my pathway
To last my whole life long.

I am my Mother’s garden,
I am her legacy.
And I hope today she feels the love,
Reflected back from me.

I Heard Your Voice In The Wind Today 

I heard your voice in the wind today
And I turned to see your face;
The warmth of the wind caressed me
As I stood silently in place.

I felt your touch in the sun today
As its warmth filled the sky;
I closed my eyes for your embrace
And my spirit soared high.

I saw your eyes in the window pane
As I watched the falling rain;
It seemed as each raindrop fell
It quietly said your name.

I held you close in my heart today
It made me feel complete;
You may have died…but you are not gone
You will always be a part of me.

As long as the sun shines..
The wind blows…
The rain falls…
You will live on inside of me forever
For that is all my heart knows.

Remember Only My Best

 When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile,
Just forget if you can any frowns –
And remember only my smile.

Forget any dark words spoken,
But remember the good I have done.
Forget that there ever was heartache,
Just remember the laughter and fun.

Forget that I stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way;
Remember – I fought some hard battles,
And won some, by close of the day.
OR Remember when people are hurting,
They don’t always mean what they say.

So do not grieve for my going,
And feel you forever must cry
But in summer just gather some flowers
And come to the place where I lie.

And then in the shade of the evening,
When the sun paints the sky in the west;
Stand for a moment beside me –
And remember only my best.

Anon

No longer mourn for me
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell;
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then you should make you woe.
O if (I say) you look upon this verse,
When I, perhaps, compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end,
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
Crooked eclipses ‘gainst his glory fight,
And Time, that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow;
Feels on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Farewell, sweet dust
Now I have lost you, I must scatter
All of you on the air henceforth;
Not that to me it can ever matter
But it’s only fair to the rest of the earth.

Now especially, when it is winter
And the sun’s not half as bright as it was,
Who wouldn’t be glad to find a splinter
That once was you, in the frozen grass?

Snowflakes, too, will be softer feathered,
Clouds, perhaps, will be whiter plumed;
Rain, whose brilliance you caught and gathered,
Purer silver have resumed.

Farewell, sweet dust; I never was a miser:
Once, for a minute, I made you mine:
Now you are gone, I am none the wiser
But the leaves of the willow are as bright as wine.
Elinor Wylie (1885-1928)

Remember Me
To the living, I am gone
To the sorrowful, I will never return
To the angry, I was cheated
But to the happy, I am at peace
And to the faithful, I have never left
I cannot speak, but I can listen
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard
So as you stand upon the shore
Gazing at the beautiful sea, remember me
As you look in awe at a mighty forest
And in its grand majesty, remember me
Remember me in your hearts,
In your thoughts, and the memories of the
Times we loved, the times we cried,
the battle we fought and the times we laughed
For if you always think of me,
I will never have gone.
Anon

There are also many other collections of poems online to browse. These examples may be of use …

Cricket poems:

Revisited 

How frequently while travelling ’round
We drive through places where
In days gone by we could be found
At the local cricket ground.
We check the time, our pulses bound;
We’ll see if it’s still there.
It was all so long ago
We wonder if we’ll find it.
Instinct leads and off we go,
Left or right, we hardly know,
But there it is, we told you so,
The little church behind it.
We lean upon the low brick wall,
A lingering moment spare
To hear the sounds of bat on ball,
The loud appeals, the batsman’s call,
No one hears the whisper fall;”
I used to play on there.”
It warms the heart, it lightens care,
It does an old man good.
It’s something cricketers can share
Revisiting the places where
A man can say “I played on there”
And fancy he still could!

Arthur Salway 

A Cricketer’s Last Boundary

Weeping willows formed an honour guard

For the cricket ball writ with a noble name

A team of ten, which had once been eleven

Would never be the same side again

 

No bails united the forlorn stumps

Since this wicket had fallen some days ago

And as the bowler delivered to the lone batsman

The hushed crowd willed a six to go

 

The magical sound… of leather on willow

The sweet smell… of freshly cut grass

The cricketer… crossing the last boundary

To a third innings that would forever last

Michael Ashby

 

“When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease”

When the day is done, and the ball has spun, in the umpire’s pocket away
And all remains, in the groundsman’s pains for the rest of time and a day
There’ll be one mad dog and his master, pushing for four with the spin
On a dusty pitch, with two pounds six of willow wood in the sun
When an old cricketer leaves the crease, you never know whether he’s gone
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff, and it could be John, with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me, and it could be thee, and it could be the sting in the ale
Sting in the ale.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he’s gone
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John, with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee, and it could be the sting in the ale
The sting in the ale.

When the moment comes and the gathering stands and the clock turns back to reflect
On the years of grace as those footsteps trace for the last time out of the act
Well this way of life’s recollection, the hallowed strip in the haze
The fabled men and the noonday sun are much more than just yarns of their days.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he’s gone
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee and it could be the sting in the ale
The sting in the ale.

.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he’s gone
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be me and it could be thee.

by Roy Harper

(Geoff is Boycott   John is John Snow, the fast bowler.)

At Lords (extract)

It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though my own red roses there may blow;
It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though the red roses crest the caps, I know.
For the field is full of shades as I near the shadowy coast,
And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,
And I look through my tears on a soundless-clapping host
As the run-stealers flicker to and fro,
To and fro: –
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago!

Francis Thompson

.

Vitai Lampada

.

There’s a breathless hush in the Close tonight –

Ten to make and the match to win –

A bumping pitch and a blinding light,

An hour to play and the last man in.

And it’s not for the sake of the ribboned coat,

Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,

But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote –

‘Play up ! play up ! and play the game !’

.

The sand of the Desert is sodden red –

Red with the wreck of a square that broke; –

The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel’s dead,

And the regiment’s blind with dust and smoke.

The river of death has brimmed its banks,

And England’s far, and Honour a name,

But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:

‘Play up ! play up ! and play the game !’

.

This is the world that year by year,

While in her place the school is set,

Every one of her sons must hear,

And none that hears it dare forget.

This they all with joyful mind

Bear through life like a torch in flame,

And falling fling to the host behind –

‘Play up ! play up ! and play the game !’

Sir Henry Newbolt