How Do You Write a Memorial Poem?

One of the best ways to convey your emotions and make memories last when you lose a loved one is writing a funeral poem. It takes some skill to capture your thoughts and feelings at the memorial accurately. Learn more below . . .

Jasper L. Edwards

The emotions associated with losing a loved one are intense and challenging to face. However, in these types of challenging moments, you often get the chance to honor your loved one's memory. You can keep your fond memories of them alive by writing a funeral poem that captures everything you wish to communicate. Writing memorial poetry requires some essential details, which you’ll discover right here on this page.

Draw Inspiration from Cherished Moments

Several writers believe that inspiration is the fuel that drives the passion for writing. Even though you may not be a professional writer, you’ll still need this. Inspiration is a mental stimulation to recollect cherished memories you spent together with your loved one. This can include memories about certain habits, personality traits, and personal moments that evoke emotion. By drawing some inspiration, you’re able to portray the deceased in a light that enables others to see them just as you did and will resonate with your audience.

Additionally, drawing inspiration enables you to process ideas and emotions that come to the forefront upon the loss of your loved one. When writing a funeral poem, you may struggle with a plethora of feelings and thoughts as this is a way of allowing yourself to process the grief. Embracing how you feel helps you channel your deepest emotions into words. It’s an opportunity to personalize the moment as you project sensitive feelings through carefully selected words.

Selecting Specific Memories

Reflect on memorable moments from some of the special times spent with your loved one. You first need to convince yourself that the reason you want to express how you feel is to let others know how irreplaceable your loved one was. This should be a driving force behind your poem to convey your message as genuinely as you feel.

Write in a Freestyle Format 

People tend to adopt various writing styles for funeral poems. However, the best way to begin is to use a freestyle format, which doesn’t follow a particular structure or form. Instead, it’s the reproduction of your original thoughts onto paper. The reason this style is accepted in the writing process is because of the liberties it offers.

At this stage, there’s no pressure to:

  • form rhymes
  • follow a specific meter
  • use poetic imagery

As you allow your imagination to run free, you create a channel for more memories to come to mind. Upon completion of your freestyle format, the next stage is to consider the structure and form.

Developing the Piece

In developing your written piece, think about where you both were when a particularly memorable incident happened. It’ll also help if you recall your age at the time. Do you remember if others were involved in that memory? These elements add specific details to the event you now wish to share with a larger grieving audience. Most importantly, besides the recollection of events, you should also share why that moment impacted you so much.

Infusing Feeling into What You Write

No one can genuinely communicate the depth of your emotions the way you can. How can you project that into your writing? Ordinary words can only do so much, but researching more into particular expressions may just do the job perfectly. For example, if you’re describing happy moments, use words like:

  • Blissful
  • Content
  • Elated
  • Joyful

 If it is the contrary, opt for descriptions such as:

  • Disenchanted
  • Miserable
  • Gloomy
  • Distressed

Remember that words carry weight.


Structure

In dealing with structure in a poem, you have to include technical things such as:

  • stanza format
  • line length
  • rhyme

In simpler terms, the structure consists of presenting the poem to the listener or the reader. To get the hang of it, read your written piece aloud to determine how it sounds and check whether it projects deeper meaning. Moreover, when applying a particular rhyme scheme, compare your written piece with other ones you find on the internet.

It’s worth noting that rhyming adds to the authentic feel and tone of the moment when writing the funeral poem. Admittedly, for non-professional writers, the idea of rhymes can be a challenging element to generate in a poem. However, the best and easiest way to do it is by using rhyming couplets, that is, where the final words of every two lines sound similar in pronunciation. For example:

"In the shadows of the mist
We doubted you would ever leave our midst
But as the sun sets
We know there is no more fret…"

Upon close examination, you’ll realize that the last word (in bold) in each line rhymes with the last word of the next. For more examples of the rhyming couplet, you can check out the Funeral Blues by WH Auden.

Theme

Now is the time to think about the overarching theme you wish to convey in your funeral poem. Which areas of life’s transition do you want to emphasize? Examples of prevalent themes in memorial poems are:

  • Grief
  • Tears
  • Life
  • Loss
  • Hope
  • Love

Choose what you wish to convey in your poem and let that subject run throughout your verses.

Sometimes, a theme's decision depends mainly on how you wish others to remember the beloved individual you’re describing. Therefore, supposing you desire to project positivity and hope even in the face of a loss, every line must highlight vital elements of this chosen theme. On the other hand, you may wish to mix two different themes to impact the listener or reader during the memorial. This is when you have the liberty to combine two opposing subject matters. For instance, if you desire to evoke laughter and tears simultaneously, ensure your verses convey that. Furthermore, the best way to confirm the running theme is during the editing process of the poem.

In conclusion, this is your moment to honor the memory of a person whose existence impacted positively on your life before they transitioned. Moreover, keep in mind that memories shape emotions, and you will find them helpful in writing a funeral poem to celebrate your loved one.

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