Losing a loved one is always hard. Even more so when the loss is an unexpected one. When a friend dies, it can be a bit different from when a family member dies. It might be a friend you were once close with, or maybe it was someone who was still in your life. Losing these people who grow up alongside you can be a heart-wrenching experience.
When you’re grieving a loss, it’s easy to get caught up in your emotions and feel like the world is falling apart. You wonder about whether someone else has gone through what you have. And how they’ve moved on from it. That is why poetry exists. For every feeling, every experience that you’ve had, there’s a piece of literature written by someone who’s gone through it before.
If you’re mourning the loss of a friend and you’re looking for some poems about losing a friend as a way of coming to terms with your loss, we’ve prepared a list of some poems to help you grieve your loss.
1. She Walks in Beauty (Lord Byron)
“One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.”
A poem that helps remind you of how beautiful a person your friend was in life, and will continue to be in death.
2. Because I Could Not Stop for Death (Emily Dickinson)
“Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
This poem personifies Death as a gentle person who accompanies you on a carriage ride to your grave.
3. When Great Trees Fall (Maya Angelou)
“When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.”
Maya Angelou’s strong usage of imagery and personification helps in bringing out the sadness in this poem about loss.
4. On Death (Khalil Gibran)
“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.”
Taken from ‘The Prophet’, this poem by Gibran is about the mortality of man and coming to terms with the fact that everyone eventually dies.
5. Life (Charlotte Bronte)
“Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day.”
Life can feel empty following the loss of a friend. This beautiful poem by Bronte tries to dispel any notions that life is dark and miserable.
6. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep (Mary Elizabeth Frye)
“Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.”
Following the death of a friend, you might wonder about ever being happy again. But that’s the last thing your friend would want. This poem is about living on to cherish the life you have while celebrating the memory of your friend.
7. Death, Be Not Proud (John Donne)
“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.”
A poem that personifies death, this poem is about reminding you that even if your friend is gone, they live on through you in your memories.
8. Death Is Nothing at All (Henry Scott Holland)
“Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.”
Written from the perspective of the deceased, this poem tries to console those left behind by telling them that death isn’t the end of everything.
While poems can help you in your grieving process, you might want to make a playlist of funeral songs for your loved one.
If you’re looking for songs to play at a funeral or memorial service, do keep in mind that funerals can be somber affairs, and it should be noted that creating a playlist and playing it is done in accordance with the deceased’s wishes from when they were alive.
For a more comprehensive guide on creating a general funeral playlist, check out the Top 30 Funeral Songs of All Time.