Funeral Poems written or chosen by active funeral celebrants

Organiser: John Dean DipFC

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS COLLECTION: Graeme Cook, Diane Storey, Dally Messenger, Christine Capewell, Gabrielle Grafman, Andrew Holborn, Colin McCraith, John Dean, Alwyn Sumbler.Most Poems in this collection are not subject to copyright or the College has permission to use them (Thanks you Graeme Cook especially) but just in case:

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She is Gone' -Author Unknown. -(submitted by Colin McCraith)

You can shed a tear that she is gone
OR you can smile that she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
OR you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
OR you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she has gone
OR you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
OR you can do what she would want, open you eyes, love and go on.

A DRINKING SONG by W.B. Yeats (from Christine Capewell)

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die. 
I lift the glass to my mouth, 
I look at you, and I sigh.

Twelve Roses for Anne (from Christine Capewell)

Twelve roses to say that we love you
Twelve roses to say how much we care.
Twelve roses to show how we miss you
Twelve roses tell us that you are no longer there.

Your perfume and your petal softness
Your selfless and supportive ways
Will always be remembered
Through the long and lonely days.

You were the central hub of our family,
The centre from which our spokes took form,
You guided and shaped our beings
And patiently weathered every storm.

One rose to symbolize your dedication
Another to say how you cared.
A third to remind us of your thoughtfulness
A fourth for the love you shared.

A fifth for your fidelity,
Six for your dedication to us all
Seven for your attention to detail
However will we manage without your presence here at all?

Rose eight to say we cherish
The memories of you dear, 
Rose nine for us to remember
The giving of your time.

Ten roses lie together 
Like your gardens of the years
Another rose joins them, 
A symbol of our tears.

The last of twelve yellow roses
Completes the fragrant bouquet
We will love and miss you dear Annie,
Your memory will not fade away.

Twelve roses to say that we love you
Twelve roses to say how much we care
Twelve roses to show how we miss you
Twelve roses tell us that you are no longer there.

Twelve roses to SIT ON YOUR COFFIN
Twelve roses TO HELP YOU NOW FLY

Four Candles for You  -  by Unknown - (from Christine Capewell) 

The first candle represents our grief.
The pain of losing you is intense.
It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This second candle represents our courage.
To confront our sorrow,
To comfort each other,
To change our lives.

third candle we light in your memory.
For the times we laughed,
The times we cried,
The times we were angry with each other,
The silly things you did,

The caring and joy you gave us.

This fourth candle we light for our love.
We light this candle that your light will always shine, 
Continuing to guide and lead us.
Regardless of the seasons of our lives, 
Our love for you will continue.

We cherish the special place in our hearts
that will always be reserved for you.
We thank you for the gift 
your living brought to each of us.

We love you.
We remember you.

The Graeme Cook Poems

Composed by Graeme Cook, Funeral Celebrant, Ringwood East, Vic. 0417 149 382, 88223733

These are all poems I've written and used in Funerals, sometimes modified to suit other people. Poems for Truck Drivers, Grandmothers, Racing fans, Car drivers, Motorcyclists, Bowls players, Sailors, a Soccer Ref, Parents, Friends, Hermits, and a Handicapped child. As a picture tells a thousand words, verse can often capture a picture with flair, emotion and entertainment that mere text can only hope to achieve. I do make myself available to people to create poems for most any purpose. Enjoy!

Barry's Miles (for a truck driver) ©Graeme Cook April  2009

There's a callous on his thumb from the splitter,
'neath the gearknob that seems moulded to his hand,
The aching in his clutch knee was often bitter,
On a winters morn, it's hard for him to stand.

Pain stayed in his back, from the years upon the track,
He remembers the time that it was shattered,
His tired old driver's seat became shaped to fit his crack,
For making up the miles was all that mattered.

Those roads were never easy, dusty, bumpy, wet and greasy,
No load ever simple, just simply bloody hard,
Pallets, boxes, tautliners, that would all be far too easy,
For any awkward freight, he'd always drawn the card.

Not a life of black tar freeway, countless stretch so smooth and flat,
He had criss-crossed all of this State and beyond,
Seen every destination, he'd more than once been there and back,
And would to all the toughest jobs respond.

Filmy haze of diesel fumes, midst engine growl and air brakes whoosh,
Memories of loads, and places that he's been,
Seen the dust and floods and bushfires, and the green of Aussie bush,
View ever-changing through that insect splattered screen.

The cowboys have the glamour of their shiny new B Double rigs,
Up and down the 4 lane highways, to and fro,
The real drivers have the real hard jobs, some of them are really pigs,
Want something shifted, use someone in the know.

His life he filled with people, all grateful for him livin',
As seen now by the people here today,
Big heart filled with diesel, and the ways it should be driven,
We'll miss this guy, for what more can we say.

He loved a quiet beer or two, and his children close at hand,
These are the things in life that brought him smiles,
Sadly now, he's parked his truck, and climbed down from that cab,         
But nought will ever wipe away the miles.

For he's there in ev'ry gear-change, ev'ry pothole that you miss,
He's helping you with ev'ry load you carry,
As the sun glints in your mirrors, he's blowing you a kiss,
Just look and see, the smiling face of Barry

To Ride - © Graeme Cook

Caring little for the elements,
or the bugs that strikes my teeth,
Not just transportation,
it's my passion there beneath,
Man and machine in oneness,
as the scenes beside me gliding,
Not a lot can touch it,
the pure pleasure of me riding.

Excitement, sure, exhilaration,
always follows that white line,
But to tell the folk that just don't know,
is impossible to define,
Luxury can be cold and stark,
for a limousine I have no care,
Just that thrumming bike beneath me,
and my head is in the air.


I Ride Alone

My big right hand, gloved and fisted, Feeling now, the throttle twisted, Crisp exhaust roar, sounding sweet, Drop the clutch, and hit the street, The revs rise sharply, grab next gear, Excitement tinged with hint of fear, Watch that tacho needle wind, All and sundry left behind,

Front wheel down now, still I'm flying, Through the gearbox, deftly plying, Speedo reads two hundred plus, Got up there without a fuss, Hard on brakes, back through the box, For an instant, rear wheel locks, Round the bend, my weight I'm shifting, As the rear wheel, neatly drifting.

Throttle on, and forward blast, The next corner, looming fast, Leaning in hard, and tyres gripping, Miles behind me, quickly slipping, White posts like a picket fence, Concentration, full, intense. Bugs on visor, flatly splattered, Speed limits, completely shattered.

Through the curves, around the ton, Down the last hill, over-run, City lights below are glowing, Common sense, bike is slowing, Reality, once more it bites, To draw me back from dizzy heights, Down the driveway, to home I glide, Wish my mate was by my side!

                           ©Graeme Cook                                                       August 2006


A Day At The Races

It's not only just the silks, and the colour and the flair, Or all the many kindred folk that I find gathered there, Sharing the excitement of the journey jockey's facing, That whips me to action, for another day of racing.

Nor is it the game of chance, that punting always brings, From TAB and bookies, and bar-room betting rings, The heady smell of fine manure, turf so lush and green, Fine dressed folk and superb horseflesh, making up the scene.

Maybe the glorious legends, from Phar Lap to the Diva, That leaves me so infected, with the flush of racing fever, The buzz as they are mustered, from the starting gate they lurch, With the Form Guide as my bible, the racetrack as my church.

I've seen them win, lose and draw, rush by in charging blur, Neck and neck, nose to nose, to the photo we refer, The weight is right, the track is fair, the sun will always shine, As once more past the Judges, and I cross that Finish Line.

                                                                        ©Graeme Cook                                                                                                                               August 2006

What Makes a Beautiful Person?

A Laugh that's there, for all to share, A Heart, compassionate and kind, A Soul that makes Friends everywhere, And to Prejudice, is blind.

Eyes that see only, a person's Best,   A Mouth, that tells no Lies, But Smiles, with the warmth of a Helping Hand, These are Qualities we Prize.

And all these things, we find in You, No need is there to pretend, And the thing that we like, most of all, Is the fact, that You're our Friend.

                                    ©Graeme Cook 1997

A Grandmother's Mystery

What is it about a Grandmother, that is such a special bond, Seeing not the years between us, but so very much beyond, For being so much older, just doesn't seem to be a case, The ages seem to melt to nought, within our own special place.

The place where we share our secrets, and it always just makes sense, Where my soul can be wide open, true and free without defense, Split by a generation, simply makes us both so nearer, To words so true from both, whether you're the speaker or the hearer.

That very place where children sit, in safety and in pleasure, To bask in love and comfort, is truly a child's life treasure, Where this child can feel so grown up, and a Gran feel like a kid, Learn and laugh together from stories, of all the things she did.

The parents in the middle though, can't share this special caring, It's just for us, my Gran and I, adventures we are sharing, And even if my situation's bad, my Gran is not deterred, What is it about a Grandmother? I think Love must be the word!

                                                                        ©Graeme Cook 2004


All My Life A Loner

For more than seven decades, it has always felt so good, To stride about this countryside of rocks and dust and wood, And breathe the air afresh, not taste the cities' grime, Amongst the bush and wildlife, a truly perfect time.

The Sun is not as harsh, as some human elements I have seen, And the bush nowhere as cruel, as some towns where I have been, Surrounded by the stars, there's been no loneliness in my nights, P'raps seen the greatest clarity, down a battered rifle's sights.

From my years out on the Snowy, to all the time I've spent out West, In me I found my own best friend, without much need for all the rest, I shot roos, and mustered cattle; coaxed this earth for sparkling gold, The days rolled into years, until I found that I'd grown old.

Throughout my life, my family held, a distant loving bond, Though they could never slake my thirsting, for all the great beyond, I move along a new trek now, and know I'll always miss, The touch of folk who loved me, and the joy of Nature's kiss.

                                                                        ©Graeme Cook April 2009


My Last End

The only reason these days,  that I ever get down on one knee, Is to view the World the way, that only a Bowler gets to see, Upon that velvet turf, looking down along the level green, Studying the Kitty's spread, and where the Jack is on the scene Will my final bowl be cunning, or just drive to win the end, I know I'll find there's Bowls in Heaven, so worry not my friend.

                                                                                 ©Graeme Cook

The Driver

         Some folk drive for transport, just a means unto an end,          
They treat cars as a mere machine, and not a trusted friend,          
Concerned only for the badge in front, how bright it may be shining,          
And the many pretty toys inside, their egos there defining.                   
The driver sees it differently, with their car becomes a part,         
Take the road together, hit the road, with a single beating heart,          
The turbo's rising wail, and the exhaust's muscled, subtle growl,          
To the driver's ear, an orchestra, there's music in that howl.

         For you can feel the engine, as the revs rise at your command,          
Feeling the lusty thrust of power, that answers your demand,          
How the clutch feels underfoot, as each gear is selected,          
The steering too, how it responds, to where it is directed,

         The road you feel, within your palms, at every bend you take,          
Every bump and line and camber, each triumph and mistake,          
Your car it tells you all of this, for this is truly livin',          
Petrol flowing through the veins, and ways it can be driven.

         Not just a freeway drive, but each outing on a mission,          
And not a veering trundle, but a task of deep precision,          
Not the tedium of traffic, relief at the arriving,          
The thrill is in the journey, and the passion in the driving.

                                                               ©Graeme Cook July 2009


The Ref

His striped form stands alert there, at the kick-off of each match, 
His whistle shrill, the game gets under way, 
All the players know who's boss, so it flows without a catch, 
His eagle eyes are watching ev'ry play.

He knows when it's offside, and he can spot the slightest foul, 
Take a dive, and he will treat you hard, 
He knows his football backwards with the wisdom of an owl, 
And any bully's swiftly shown a card.

All the youngsters that he's trained, know just what to expect, 
Upon the field on any playing day, 
Coached, advised, encouraged, with a mutual respect, 
So lend an ear to what he has to say.

Play your game with skill and passion, 
guard that goal with all your might, 
Or strike toward the net so hard and true, 
For he loved to see you love the game, 
so never lose the sight, 
Of ev'ry single thing he's taught to you

For now that sadly he's moved on, where he refs for higher teams, 
Don't you ever, be too surprised to find, 
Although you can't see or hear him, he'll be far closer than it seems, 
A top man never leaves his team behind.

The scores, they never mattered, it was how you played the game, 
To do less than best would surely be a crime, 
Play on lads, as if he's there, treat the ball and field the same, 
The Ref's last match didn't run to 'extra time'.

                                                                        ©Graeme Cook                                                                                                                               November 2006


The Scenes I've Known

Though the scenes I've known are different, and my understanding blurred, 
There's one thing that's remained consistent, in my smaller, gentler, world.                   
For not fazed by all I cannot grasp, I view only with my heart,          
In purity of vision, of which you all have been a part.

I can see your smile, and my own, in those eyes reflected,          
And years of precious caring, I also have detected,

I've known the Love of others, as through this Life I've run, 
Lightened all my troubles, and remains when I am done.

                                                               ©Graeme Cook June 2007


From the moment they are born, That bond never shall be torn, 
Regardless of all they do or say, 
They'll always be your kid, 
No matter what they did, 
Love's bloodline, can never go astray.

From the first time that you hold 'em, 
Through every time you scold 'em, 
And every soiled nappy that you've changed, 
From all the crap you saw, 
They will always dish out more, 
It's just the way that children are arranged.

You want for them the best, 
But they put you to the test, 
And seem intent, your efforts to defy, 
Beseech, threaten, teach or cheer, 
They so seldom seem to hear, 
No matter how bloody hard you may try.

As a baby they were cute, 
And as a toddler, really beaut, 
How proud you were at their first day at school, 
But then they started growing, And acting without knowing, 
Just started to become a touch less cool.

So rude, mocking and defiant, And on you, still so reliant, You are there to fulfill their every need, We're so proud of their successes, And forgive their many messes, The writings on the wall but they won't read.

If they'd only see the truth, In this masquerade of youth, A parent's job would be one of far less stress, But they crave the grog and smokes, Hang around with the wrong blokes, And don't ever dare advise them how to dress.

A product of where you've been, What you've done and what they've seen, They've learnt most from the example you have set, So not totally to blame, Not too different, but the same, We all think we tried our very best, and yet?

We pushed them and we shoved them, Tolerated, and loved them, Glad we had them, at times we don't know why, Pray they do stay out of strife, Make the best of their sweet life, Can't bear the thought that one day they may die.

May they prosper, love and grow, Come to learn all that we know, And hopefully succeed through Life's great test, May we leave this mortal coil, Free of grief, relieved of toil, And know that for our kids, we did our best.

                                                      ©Graeme Cook


Dolphins at my bow

I've spent a lot of time, amongst engines, cars and noise, Tuning and repairing all the best of big boy's toys, Felt the surge of power, and the howling exhaust roar, It was fun back then, but I don't do that any more.

I had found though, on the water, a lesson there to learn, The peace of gurgling water, as it flowed beyond the stern, Without the noise and smell, of oily petrol burning, The magic motion, sailing, brought an instant yearning.

Sure, I love my bike, and the flying freedom that we share, For it is quite like sailing, when your head is in the air, And how your pace is gauged, by the effort you put in, You're part of that machine, from the moment you begin.

But you just can't beat the silence, as with the wind you ride, Hard against the breezes, and tilted sharply to the side, Tacking back and forth, as you strive to make your way, All that Nature throws at you, on any sailing day.

See the mast abending, as you rush to reef the main, Shivering and soaking, from the spray and driving rain, You may be cold and wet, as returning to your mooring, But your heart is happy, and your spirit's fire is roaring.

Or to run before the wind, with the spinnaker in bloom, Balloon of blazing colour, as across the seas you zoom, Your own skill, with helm and sheet, measure of your speed, Excitement, contentment, this fulfills every need.

Special times befriended, by the ocean's family, As a pod of friendly dolphins, take time out to see, Just how I'm getting on, and I pat their shining backs, Before they all swim off, with my everlasting thanks.

Now I've not sailed for many years, but that feeling never fades, Of time spent on the water, amidst the peace of wind and waves, For sailing's much like life, you get back just what you've put in, When the current runs against you, the strength comes from within.

When I leave this earthly plain, not feared of where I'm heading, Part of me, upon the sea, I think you should be spreading, For it shall be a better place, than where I may be now, With fair winds always behind me, and dolphins at my bow.

                                                                                                                                                    ©Graeme Cook

Books for sale from theCelebrants Centre1300 446 786 Yvonne -
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Ceremonies and Celebrations Book and CD
Celebrant Training in History
Marriage Ceremonies
It's Your Wedding by Dally Messenger