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Funeral Poems

Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep | Because I Could Not Stop For Death | For The Fallen
He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven | If | I Have A Rendevous With Death | In Flanders Fields
In Memory | Memorial Day | Nothing Gold Can Stay | Not In Vein | Remembrance Day
Resignation | Tears In His Eyes | Thanks For Your Life | The Healers
The Pride Of Victory | The Road Not Taken | The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier | To Sleep

Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep

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 glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Because I Could Not Stop For Death

He kindly stopped for me---
The Carriage held but just Ourselves---
And Immortality.

We slowly drove---He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labour and my leisure too,
For His Civility---

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess---in the Ring---
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain---
We passed the Setting Sun---

Or rather---He passed Us---
The Dews drew quivering and chill---
For only Gossamer, my Gown---
My Tippet---Only Tulle---

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground---
The Roof scarcely visible---
The Cornice---in the Ground---

Since then---tis Centuries---and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses Heads
Were toward Eternity--- 

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For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death August and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe,
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

by Laurence Binyon

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He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, 
Enwrought with golden and silver light, 
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 
Of night and light and the half-light, 
I would spread the cloths under your feet: 
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; 
I have spread my dreams under your feet; 
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

by W. B. Yeats

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If

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 worn-out 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!

by Rudyard Kipling

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I Have A Rendevous With Death

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade
When Spring comes round with rustling shade
And apple blossoms fill the air.
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath;
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Alan Seeger (1888-1916)

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In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 
We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields. 
Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields. 

by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae

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In Memory

Serene and beautiful and very wise,
Most erudite in curious Grecian lore,
You lay and read your learned books, and bore
A weight of unshed tears and silent sighs.
The song within your heart could never rise
Until love bade it spread its wings and soar.
Nor could you look on Beauty's face before
A poet's burning mouth had touched your eyes. 

Love is made out of ecstasy and wonder;
Love is a poignant and accustomed pain.
It is a burst of Heaven-shaking thunder;
It is a linnet's fluting after rain.
Love's voice is through your song; 
above and under
And in each note to echo and remain

A red rose is His Sacred Heart, 
a white rose is His face,
And His breath has turned the barren 
world to a rich and flowery place.
He is the Rose of Sharon, 
His gardener am I,
And I shall drink His fragrance 
in Heaven when I die.

by Joyce Kilmer

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Memorial Day

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray. 

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky. 

Above their wreath-strewn 
graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and 
fought the fight.
Through flying lead and 
crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom 
and the Right. 

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie 
beneath this sod,
Who went through fire 
and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . 
Who brought a sword.

by Joyce Kilmer

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Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost (1875-1963)

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Not In Vein

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) Amherst, Massachusetts

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Remembrance Day

Eleven O'Clock
The crowd is gathered
Blood stained lapel

In a silence of white crosses
The granite monument inspires
Bronze men, stand up!
The people commemorate 
your sacrifice
Paraded from the 
horrific maelstrom
All wars mistaken
Memory engraved with 
the chisel of war
Outpourings of feelings

In a wreath of poppies
A mother offers the last lament
Of a son fallen 
for his country

O murderous war!
When will you 
drop your guns?

By Denyse B. Mercier

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Resignation

There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, 
howsoe'er defended,
But has one vacant chair! 

The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead;
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,
Will not be comforted! 

Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,
But oftentimes celestial benedictions
Assume this dark disguise. 

We see but dimly through the mists 
and vapors;
Amid these earthly damps
What seem to us but sad, 
funereal tapers
May be heaven's distant lamps. 

There is no Death! What seems 
so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death. 

She is not dead,€the child of our affection,€
But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
And Christ himself doth rule. 

In that great cloister's
stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, 
safe from sin's pollution,
She lives, whom we call dead. 

Day after day we think 
what she is doing
In those bright realms of air;
Year after year, 
her tender steps pursuing,
Behold her grown more fair. 

Thus do we walk with her, 
and keep unbroken
The bond which nature gives,
Thinking that our remembrance, 
though unspoken,
May reach her where she lives. 

Not as a child shall we again behold her;
For when with raptures wild
In our embraces we again enfold her,
She will not be a child; 

But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,
Clothed with celestial grace;
And beautiful with all the soul's expansion
Shall we behold her face. 

And though at times impetuous 
with emotion
And anguish long suppressed,
The swelling heart heaves 
moaning like the ocean,
That cannot be at rest,€

We will be patient, 
and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay;
By silence sanctifying, 
not concealing,
The grief that must have way.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Tears In His Eyes

 I begged my father not to go
He looked at me and 
walked to the door so slow.

Tears filled his eyes as 
he bade my mother goodbye
I began to cry.

He opened his arms to me
"I must protect my country you see."

I hugged him once and 
kissed him twice
He wrapped his arms 
around me, it felt so nice.

Rain started to wail, 
she looked so frail
And I knew my 
emotions would fail.

But instead of breaking 
down and making things worse
My words came out 
slow without a curse.

I dried my tears and 
she looked at me
"Father will be back 
some day, you will see."

Then as we all cried, 
my mother took my hand
And she led us to a 
place where we must hide.

It has been six years
That the war has 
hammered in my ears.

But now it is done
And news has come.

Father is dead, but I am free
As free as I want to be.

So let's stand for a minute
with our hearts put in it.

And remember those father, 
mothers and brother
that died so we could be free

By Lisa Krahn

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Thanks For Your Life

They fight to live
They fight to die
To give us freedom
From land to sky.

They gave us a chance
To rule on our own
Now we live to show them
How strongly we've grown.

Thanks for your fight
Thanks for your life
We now live in Peace
Day and night.

By Jordan Pike

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The Healers

In a vision of the night I saw them, 
In the battles of the night. 
€Mid the roar and the reeling 
shadows of blood 
They were moving like light, 

Light of the reason, guarded
Tense within the will, 
As a lantern under a tossing of boughs 
Burns steady and still. 

With scrutiny calm, and with fingers 
Patient as swift 
They bind up the hurts and
the pain-writhen 
Bodies uplift, 

Untired and defenceless; around them 
With shrieks in its breath 
Bursts stark from the terrible horizon
Impersonal death; 

But they take not their courage from anger 
That blinds the hot being; 
They take not their pity from weakness; 
Tender, yet seeing;

Feeling, yet nerved to the uttermost; 
Keen, like steel; 
Yet the wounds of the mind 
they are stricken with, 
Who shall heal? 

They endure to have eyes 
of the watcher
In hell, and not swerve 
For an hour from the faith 
that they follow,
The light that they serve. 

Man true to man, to his kindness 
That overflows all, 
To his spirit erect in the thunder 
When all his forts fall,

This light, in the tiger-mad welter, 
They serve and they save. 
What song shall be worthy 
to sing of them
Braver than the brave? 

By Laurence Binyon

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The Pride Of Victory

One morning, bright and radiant,
As the sun rose in the sky,
A drumbeat sounded through the hills,
And echoed far and high.
One lone drumbeat o'er the hills,
Sounds like a cannon's roar.
The creatures dive for shelter,
For, the beat precedes a war.
A shout rings from the hillsides,
And the soldiers stampede down.
One young, tiny drummer boy,
Gets trampled to the ground.
As the human waves collide,
And the first shot rings aloud,
A soldier falls in battle;
The flowers form his shroud.
Both sides mix together,
Here their colours blend and clot.
But, the soldiers keep on fighting,
And unity stands for naught.
As the last gunshots fall silent,
All the forms dead on the earth.
Two enemies stand in stillness,
As they turn to face their dearth.

Clouds turn the sky to black,
And rain falls all around.
A light shines through the darkness,
Cleansing bloodstained ground.
They stand there in the silence,
Gaze through the other's heart,
Link hands in grievous quiet,
Piercing hatred, as a dart.
As the smoke fades in the distance,
The hurt souls find release,
The price too high for victory,
They both agree to peace.

by Amber Atkinson

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The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- 
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

by Robert Lee Frost

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The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier

A young man left his life one day,
To fight a war yet far away,
Fighting to let peace be known,
He thought one day 
he would come home.

He left his love, 
said with a smile,
"I'm coming home, 
in a short while."
He never knew 
his time was near,
He left to fight, 
without a fear.

The scene was grey and bleak,
A win, a loss, a gain, a fall,
The fighting went on, 
week after week
They wanted to end it all.

By the time the war was won,
The bloodshed over, 
the battles done,
One hundred thousand, 
and 16 more,
Canadians dead, 
that was the score.

The brave young man 
that left his love,
Was gone to face 
the lord above,
His human body never found,
With poppies blowing, 
there came a sound.

A service to remember them,
Who came before, 
the brave young men,
A cannon booms, 
a bugle sounds,
The tomb of those 
whose life it crowns.

We remember with 
a Tomb of Stone,
For the soldiers still unknown,
All those who fought 
and died before,
And those who'll 
fight in future wars.

Through many wars, 
o'er many years,
Men and women looked 
past their fears,
This tomb remembers 
all of them,

The Tomb of 
the Unknown Soldier.

By Jennifer McKay

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To Sleep

O soft embalmer of the still midnight, 
Shutting, with careful 
fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, 
embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the "Amen," ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,€
Save me from curious Conscience, 
that still lords
Its strength for darkness, 
burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly 
in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed 
Casket of my Soul. 

by John Keats

 

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