Music and poems for services

Music 

Music can play a large part in personalising funeral services. Music can be played when the mourners enter and exit the chapel, and hymns or personalised music can be played when the curtains close or at any other time during the service - entirely at the discretion of those making the funeral arrangements.

When choosing pieces of music, consideration should be given to their total playing time, and whether this will impact on the rest of the service time booked.

Organ

The Willow chapel is fitted with an organ. Although there is no organ at the Oak chapel, you may bring in your own musical instrument such as an electronic organ and use the chapel's sound system. If you wish to use the organ at the Willow chapel then you will need to hire an organist - we are able to supply contact details of local organists.

Occasionally, we have requests for members of the family to play the organ in the Willow chapel themselves. This facility is available, but we do suggest that they visit the chapel a few days before the funeral to familiarise themselves with the organ layout.

Hymn CD

A specialist hymn system is available for playing standard hymns with a choir to aid with singing. Checks need to be made several days before the service to ensure that the desired hymn is available. If a special hymn is required, this can be obtained from our music suppliers, but at least 4 days notice is needed and contact needs to be made with the crematorium office by either the funeral director or person arranging the funeral. Please remember that hymn words printed on the order of service need to match our music system.

CDs

Your own CDs can be played on the crematoriums sound system. However, consideration should be given to the quality of the CD, as these often do not play the same on different machines.

CDs need to be brought to the Crematorium at least one clear day prior to the service so that we can check they play well. By having any CDs early enough, we can avoid any problems on the day of the service.

Service books and service sheets

We have two books available in the chapel for use during services; Hymns Ancient and Modern New Standard Version and Funeral Services of the Christian Churches in England.

You may also make personalised service sheets to include hymns, photographs, special poems, sayings or other details so that mourners are able to follow the service on the day. You could also include any directions or details of where donations may be sent. If you are using a funeral director, they can advise you further or you can contact the Crematorium office for suggestions, help and advice on contents.

Poetry

Poetry often expresses emotions in a very clear and simple way. You may like to use some of these suggestions, or you may have your own favourite readings.

Several books that may be useful are listed below. You can reserve a book for collection at your local library or browse the books at Amazon.
 

  • All in the end is harvest: An anthology for those who grieve
    Agnes Whitaker (ed) (1996) London Darton, Longman and Todd. ISBN: 0232516243. Prose and poetry published in association with Cruse Bereavement Care
     
  • Do not go gentle: Poems for funerals
    Neil Astley (ed) (2003) Tarset: Bloodaxe Books. ISBN: 1852246359. Traditional and contemporary poems for people of all faiths, agnostics and atheists
     
  • The long pale corridor: Contemporary poems of bereavement
    Judi Benson and Agneta Falk (eds) (1996). Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books. ISBN: 1852243171.
     
  • Poems and Readings for Funerals
    Julia Watson (ed) (2004). London. Penguin Books. ISBN: 0141014962.
     
  • In Loving Memory A collection for Memorial Services, Funerals and Just Getting By
    Sally Emerson (ed) (2004). London. Little Brown. ISBN: 0316725994. 

Popular poems and sayings

All Is Well

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away 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 into 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 effort
Without the shadow of a trace on it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolutely unbroken continuity
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you
For an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well

Henry Scott Holland

Have Faith

Have faith in love and do not fear the sadness that comes
When someone has gone away.
For love is deeper than the deepest sorrow:
Its light can reach beyond the darkest day.
Have faith in love... for love is sure and constant;
A tie too strong for time and loss to sever.
And for those who love, there are no final partings.
Where love has been, there love will be forever

I Did Not Die

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 of 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.

If I knew

If I knew it would be the last time
that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would videotape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say "I love you,"
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.
If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
Well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.
For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything just right.
There will always be another day
to say "I love you,"
And certainly there's another chance
to say our "Anything I can do?"
But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear
Take time to say "I'm sorry,"
"Please forgive me," "Thank you," or "It's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.

If I Should Go

If I should go before the rest of you,
break not a flower nor inscribe a stone,
nor, when I am 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

Leisure

What is 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 or 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.

William Henry Davies

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 our 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 that you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti

Success

To laugh often and love much;
to win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affection of children;
to earn the approbation of honest critics
and to endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to give of one’s self;
to leave the world a little better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm
and sung with exultation;
to know that even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived –
this is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

They Do Not Leave

They do not leave. They are not gone,
They look upon us still,
They walk among the valley now,
They stride upon the hill.
Their smile is in the summer sky,
Their grace is in the breeze,
Their memories whisper in the grass
Their calm is in the trees.
Their tears are in the gentle rain,
Their sigh is in the autumn leaves
They do not leave, They are not gone
It’s only us who grieve.

We Remember

When we are weary and in need of strength
When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember him/her
When we have a joy we crave to share
When we have decisions that are difficult to make
When we have achievements that are based on his/hers
We remember him/her
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
We remember him/her
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
We remember him/her
At the rising of the sun and at it's setting,
We remember him/her
As long as we live he/she will live,
For he/she is now a part of us,
And we remember him/her.

We Hold You Close

We hold you close within our hearts
And there you shall remain
To walk with us throughout our lives
Until we meet again
So rest in peace dear loved one
And thanks for all you’ve done
We pray that God has given you
The crown you’ve truly won

What Is Dying

A Ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon,
And someone at my side says, “She has gone!”
Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all;
She is just as large as when I saw her…
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
“She is gone”, there are others who are watching her coming,
and other voices take up a glad shout,
“there she come!”
And that is dying.

Several versions of this poem are attributed to Bishop Brent, Henry Van Dyke, Victor Hugo and others

You Can Shed Tears

You can shed tears that they’ve gone,
Or you can smile because they have lived.
You can close your eyes and pray they’ll come back,
Or you can open you eyes and see all they have left you.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them,
Or your heart can be full of the love you’ve shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember them and only that they’ve gone,
Or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
Be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what they’d want;
Smile, open your eyes, love and journey on.

David Harkins

Miss you

I miss you in the morning, dear
When all the world is new;
I know the day can bring no joy
Because it brings not you.
I miss the well-loved voice of you,
Your tender smile for me,
The charm of you, the joy of your
Unfailing sympathy.
The world is full of folks, it’s true,
But there was only one of you.
I miss you at the noontide, dear;
The crowded city street
Seems but a desert now, I walk
In solitude complete.
I miss your hand beside my own
The light touch of your hand,
The quick gleam in the eyes of you
So sure to understand.
The world is full of folks, it’s true,
But there was only one of you.
I miss you in the evening, dear,
When daylight fades away;
I miss the sheltering arms of you
To rest me from the day,
I try to think I see you yet
There where the firelight gleams –
Weary at last, I sleep, and still
I miss you in my dreams.
The world is full of folks, it’s true,
But there was only one of you.

A Navaho Prayer

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
Its all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home,
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.
Grieve for me, for I would grieve for you.
Then brush away the sorrow and tears
Life is not over, but begins anew,
with courage you must great the coming years.
To live forever in the past is wrong;
Can only cause you misery and pain.
Dwell not on memories overlong,
With other you must share and care again.
Reach out and comfort those who comfort you;
Recall the years, but only for a while.
Nurse not your loneliness; but live again.
Forget not.
Remember with a smile.

Afterglow

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow 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.

It was beautiful

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 time raced me by.
Farwell! Farwell my friends;
I Smile and bid you goodbye.
No I 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.

A measurement of worth

Not, how did they die, but how did they live?
Not, what did they gain, but what did they give?
These are the units to measure the worth.
Of a person as a person, regardless of birth.
Not, what was their church, nor what was their creed?
But for their work and their care
For those people in need:
Their strength for their children
Their love for their partners in life.
But had they befriended those really in need?
Were they every ready, with a word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
These are the units that measure a life.
Not, what did they sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when they passed away?

Indian Prayer

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much.
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it's pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.

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.

Short sayings

  • Deep peace of the running weave to you
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
    Deep peace of the shining stars to you
    Deep peace of the heart of peace to you.
     
  • May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind be always at your back
    May the sun shine warm upon your face
    May the rain fall softly on your fields
    Until we meet again
    May he hold you in the hollow of his hand.
     
  • We give thanks for the life of insert name………
    and for all that we can remember and treasure.
    Help us to have trust for the future
    and strength to face every new circumstance in life. 
Crownhill Crematorium and Cemetery Team

Crownhill Crematorium and Cemetery Team contact information

Crownhill and Crematorium and Cemetery Office, Dansteed Way, Crownhill, Milton Keynes MK8 0AH