There is suffering in grieving. And always remember that the grief that you are feeling is valid, whatever the cause may be. So for this moment of sorrow, may you find comfort with the following 26 grief poems.
1. When I’m Gone
When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile
Forget unkind words I have spoken
Remember some good I have done
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I’ve had loads of fun
Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way
Remember I have fought some hard battles
And won, ere the close of the day
Then forget to grieve for my going
I would not have you sad for a day
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay
And come in the shade of evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best
– Mosiah Lyman Hancock
Though he, that ever kind and true,
Kept stoutly step by step with you,
Your whole long, gusty lifetime through,
Be gone a while before,
Be now a moment gone before,
Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restore
Your friend to you.
He has but turned the corner — still
He pushes on with right good will,
Through mire and marsh, by heugh and hill,
That self-same arduous way —
That self-same upland, hopeful way,
That you and he through many a doubtful day
He is not dead, this friend — not dead,
But in the path we mortals tread
Got some few, trifling steps ahead
And nearer to the end;
So that you too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
You fancy dead.
Push gaily on, strong heart! The while
You travel forward mile by mile,
He loiters with a backward smile
Till you can overtake,
And strains his eyes to search his wake,
Or whistling, as he sees you through the brake,
Waits on a stile.
– Robert Louis Stevenson
3. I Measure Every Grief I Meet
I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes–
I wonder if It weighs like Mine–
Or has an Easier size.
I wonder if They bore it long–
Or did it just begin–
I could not tell the Date of Mine–
It feels so old a pain–
I wonder if it hurts to live–
And if They have to try–
And whether–could They choose between–
It would not be–to die–
I note that Some–gone patient long–
At length, renew their smile–
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil–
I wonder if when Years have piled–
Some Thousands–on the Harm–
That hurt them early–such a lapse
Could give them any Balm–
Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve–
Enlightened to a larger Pain–
In Contrast with the Love–
The Grieved–are many–I am told–
There is the various Cause–
Death–is but one–and comes but once–
And only nails the eyes–
There’s Grief of Want–and grief of Cold–
A sort they call “Despair”–
There’s Banishment from native Eyes–
In Sight of Native Air–
And though I may not guess the kind–
Correctly–yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary–
To note the fashions–of the Cross–
And how they’re mostly worn–
Still fascinated to presume
That Some–are like My Own–
– Emily Dickinson
4. How Great My Grief
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Since first it was my fate to know thee!
– Have the slow years not brought to view
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Nor memory shaped old times anew,
Nor loving-kindness helped to show thee
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Since first it was my fate to know thee?
– Thomas Hardy
5. Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay
6. Funeral Blues
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with the juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and, with muffled drum,
Bring out the coffin. Let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message: “He is dead!”
Put crepe bows around the white necks of the public doves.
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my north, my south, my east and west,
My working week and Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song.
I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one.
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
– W. H. Auden
7. This Feeling Called Grief
This heartache this sadness
this feeling of pain
to think I’ll never hear your voice
or see your face again
The loneliness without you
is beyond belief
I can’t come to terms with
this feeling called grief
It’s so hard to describe just how I feel
without you beside me
time has only stood still
I sit for hours in your favourite chair
talk to your photo
wishing you were there
I touch your clothes & start to weep
I hug your pillow
& try to sleep
Life must go on
I suppose it’s true
but a day doesn’t pass
without thinking of you
To treasure your memory
I must carry on
but nothing else matters
now that you’ve gone.
– Paul Vincent Brown
8. The Lesson Of Grief
Not ere the bitter herb we taste,
Which ages thought of happy times,
To plant us in a weeping waste,
Rings with our fellows this one heart
When I had shed my glad year’s leaf,
I did believe I stood alone,
Till that great company of Grief
Taught me to know this craving heart
For not my own.
– George Meredith
9. Time And Grief
O TIME! who know’st a lenient hand to lay
Softest on sorrow’s wound, and slowly thence
(Lulling to sad repose the weary sense)
The faint pang stealest unperceived away;
On thee I rest my only hope at last,
And think, when thou hast dried the bitter tear
That flows in vain o’er all my soul held dear,
I may look back on every sorrow past,
And meet life’s peaceful evening with a smile:
As some lone bird, at day’s departing hour,
Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower
Forgetful, though its wings are wet the while:–
Yet ah! how much must this poor heart endure,
Which hopes from thee, and thee alone, a cure!
– William Lisle Bowles
10. The Well of Grief
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.
– David Whyte
11. Brooding Grief
A yellow leaf from the darkness
Hops like a frog before me.
Why should I start and stand still?
I was watching the woman that bore me
Stretched in the brindled darkness
Of the sick-room, rigid with will
To die: and the quick leaf tore me
Back to this rainy swill
Of leaves and lamps and traffic mingled before me.
– D. H. Lawrence
12. In Time Of Grief
Dark, thinned, beside the wall of stone,
The box dripped in the air;
Its odor through my house was blown
Into the chamber there.
Remote and yet distinct the scent,
The sole thing of the kind,
As though one spoke a word half meant
That left a sting behind.
I knew not Grief would go from me,
And naught of it be plain,
Except how keen the box can be
After a fall of rain.
– Lizette Woodworth Reese
13. For Grief
When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence
Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.
Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.
– John O’Donohue
14. Seasons Of Grief
Shall I wither and fall like an autumn leaf,
From this deep sorrow – from this painful grief?
How can I go on or find a way to be strong?
Will I ever again enjoy life’s sweet song?
Sometimes a warm memory sheds light in the dark
And eases the pain like the song of a Meadow Lark.
Then it flits away on silent wings and I’m alone;
Hungering for more of the light it had shone.
Shall grief’s bitter cold sadness consume me,
Like a winter storm on the vast angry sea?
How can I fill the void and deep desperate need
To replant my heart with hope’s lovely seed?
Then I look at a photo of your playful smiling face
And for a moment I escape to a serene happy place;
Remembering the laughter and all you would do,
Cherishing the honest, caring, loving spirit of you.
Shall spring’s cheerful flowers bring life anew
And allow me to forget the agony of missing you?
Will spring’s burst of new life bring fresh hope
And teach my grieving soul how to cope?
Sometimes I’ll read a treasured card you had given me
And each word’s special meaning makes me see,
The precious gift of love I was fortunate to receive,
And I realize you’d never want to see me grieve.
Shall summer’s warm brilliant sun bring new light,
And free my anguished mind of its terrible plight?
Will its gentle breezes chase grief’s dark clouds away,
And show me a clear path towards a better day?
When I visit the grave where you lie in eternal peace,
I know that death and heaven brought you release;
I try to envision your joy on that shore across the sea,
And, until I join you, that’ll have to be enough for me.
For all the remaining seasons of my life on earth,
There’ll be days I’ll miss your merriment and mirth,
And sometimes I’ll sadly long for all the yesterdays;
Missing our chats and your gentle understanding ways.
Yet, the lessons of kindness and love you taught me,
And the good things in life you’ve helped me to see;
Linger as lasting gifts that comfort and will sustain,
Until I journey to that peaceful shore and see you again.
– Belinda Stotler
15. Grief Is Like a River
My grief is like a river—
I have to let it flow,
But I myself determine
Just where the banks will go.
Some days the current takes me
In waves of guilt and pain,
But there are always quiet pools
Where I can rest again
I crash on rocks of anger ––
My faith seems faint indeed,
But there are other swimmers
Who know that what I need
Are loving hands to hold me
When the waters are too swift,
And someone kind to listen
When I just seem to drift.
Grief’s river is a process
Of relinquishing the past
By swimming in Hope’s channels
I’ll reach the shore at last.
– Cynthia G. Kelley
16. My Constant Companion
Grief is my companion,
It takes me by the hand,
And walks along beside me
in a dark and barren land.
How long will this lonesome journey last,
How much more can my weary heart bear?
Since your death, I’ve been lost in the fog,
Too burdened with sorrow and care.
People tell me my sadness will fade,
And my tears will reach their end.
Grief and I must complete our journey,
And then maybe I’ll find happiness again.
– Kelly Roper
17. After They Are Gone
When someone we love passes away,
We ache, but we go on;
Our dear departed would want us to heal,
After they are gone.
Grief is a normal way to mend
The anguish and pain in our hearts;
We need time to remember and time to mourn,
Before the recovery starts.
Let’s draw together to recuperate,
As we go through this period of sorrow;
Let’s help each other, with tender care
To find a brighter tomorrow.
– Joanna Fuchs
18. A Mother’s Grief
You ask me how I’m feeling,
but do you really want to know?
The moment I try telling you
You say you have to go
How can I tell you,
what it’s been like for me
I am haunted, I am broken
By things that you don’t see
You ask me how I’m holding up,
but do you really care?
The moment I start to speak my heart,
You start squirming in your chair.
Because I am so lonely,
you see, friends no longer come around,
I’ll take the words I want to say
And quietly choke them down.
Everyone avoids me now,
I guess they don’t know what to say
They told me I’ll be there for you,
then turned and walked away.
Call me if you need me,
that’s what everybody said,
But how can I call and scream
into the phone,
My God, my child is dead?
No one will let me
say the words I need to say
Why does a mothers grief
scare everyone away?
I am tired of pretending
my heart hammers in my chest,
I say things to make you comfortable,
but my soul finds no rest.
How can I tell you things
that are too sad to be told,
of the helplessness of holding a child
who in your arms grows cold?
Maybe you can tell me,
How should one behave,
who’s had to follow their childs casket,
watched it perched above a grave?
You cannot imagine
what it was like for me that day
to place a final kiss upon that box,
and have to turn and walk away.
If you really love me,
and I believe you do,
if you really want to help me,
here is what I need from you.
Sit down beside me,
reach out and take my hand,
Say “My friend, I’ve come to listen,
I want to understand.”
Just hold my hand and listen
that’s all you need to do,
And if by chance I shed a tear,
it’s alright if you do to.
I swear that I’ll remember
till the day I’m very old,
the friend who sat and held my hand
and let me bare my soul.
– Kelly Cummings
Trying to remember you
is like carrying water
in my hands a long distance
across sand. Somewhere people are waiting.
They have drunk nothing for days.
Your name was the food I lived on;
now my mouth is full of dirt and ash.
To say your name was to be surrounded
by feathers and silk; now, reaching out,
I touch glass and barbed wire.
Your name was the thread connecting my life;
now I am fragments on a tailor’s floor.
I was dancing when I
learned of your death; may
my feet be severed from my body.
– Stephen Dobyns
20. He Was Acquainted With Grief
I cannot tell the sorrows that I feel
By the night’s darkness, by the prison’s gloom;
There is no sight that can the death reveal
The spirit suffers in a living tomb;
There is no sound of grief that mourners raise,
No moaning of the wind, or dirge-like sea,
Nor hymns, though prophet tones inspire the lays,
That can the spirit’s grief awake in thee.
Thou too must suffer as it suffers here
The death in Christ to know the Father’s love;
Then in the strains that angels love to hear
Thou too shalt hear the Spirit’s song above,
And learn in grief what these can never tell,
A note too deep for earthly voice to swell.
– Jones Very
21. The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this, the last battle, can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree,
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you,
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close,we two, these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
– Author Unknown
22. My Grief On The Sea
MY grief on the sea,
How the waves of it roll!
For they heave between me
And the love of my soul!
To grief and to care,
Will the sea ever waken
Relief from despair?
My grief and my trouble!
Would he and I were,
In the province of Leinster,
Or County of Clare!
Were I and my darling–
O heart-bitter wound!–
On board of the ship
For America bound.
On a green bed of rushes
All last night I lay,
And I flung it abroad
With the heat of the day.
And my Love came behind me,
He came from the South;
His breast to my bosom,
His mouth to my mouth.
– Douglas Hyde
23. You’ve Just Walked On Ahead of Me
And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.
– Joyce Grenfell
If grief could burn out
Like a sunken coal
The heart would rest quiet
The unrent soul
Be as still as a veil
But I have watched all night
The fire grow silent
The grey ash soft
And I stir the stubborn flint
The flames have left
And the bereft
Heart lies impotent
– Philip Larkin
25. Long Distance II
Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.
You couldn’t just drop in. You had to phone.
He’d put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.
He couldn’t risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he’d hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she’d just popped out to get the tea.
I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven’t both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there’s your name
and the disconnected number I still call.
– Tony Harrison
26. The House of Grief
When asked where he dwells
In the house of grief.
My heart is broken, and the soul is torn
Bound to a memory
A decaying corpse
That died gasping in my arms
Her name upon my trembling lips
Life left the body of my beloved
Though now long placed in the ground
Those who know me mutter under their breath
She makes no sound
And I am insane
In the endless aching hours
And long sighs of the night
An ethereal wraith appears before me
When the blue sparkle comet flies
The moon is on the wane
Reflected in the waters eye
In between the cold worlds
I listen for her cries
I asked gently with pity
Why is it must you stay
Until your mind can bear no more
Forever and a day
By man’s spoken law she is dead
Her body I watched them lovingly lay
In my insanity and heart, she lives
Curse them I care not what they say
So, stone dead he was when they found him
It was as he had sworn
In the house of grief
He remained to the end
Until she called his name no more
– Tammy M Darby