Poems of Comfort

Finding the appropriate words to express condolences and gain comfort during a time of loss can be difficult. Whether you are preparing for a funeral or unveiling and searching for inspiration or seeking personal comfort and knowledge, the below poems, parables and proverbs we find meaningful and helpful.

Poems, Parables, and Proverbs

›› Jewish Blessing of the Mourners
›› We Remember Them by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer
›› Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye
›› When All That's Left is Love by Rabbi Allen S. Maller
›› God Gives and God Takes by Rabbi Allen S. Maller
›› Krieh – Tearing the Cloth by Harold M. Schulweis
›› When Will I Be Myself Again by Rabbi Lewis John Eron
›› To One in Sorrow by Grace Noll Crowell
›› To Fall in Battle by Kaila Shabat
›› Jewish Proverbs
›› A Mother’s Parable by Temple Baily

 

see also: Psalms of Comfort >>

 

Jewish Blessing of the Mourners
Those who are worn out and crushed by this mourning, let your hearts consider this:
this is the path that has existed from the time of creation and will exist forever.
Many have drunk from it and many will yet drink.
As was the first meal, so shall be the last.
May the master of comfort comfort you.
Blessed are those who comforts the mourners.

Return to Top

We Remember Them by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer
At the rising sun and at its going down; We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as We remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share; We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them.
For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, We remember them.


Return to Top

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye
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 on 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.

Return to Top

When All That's Left Is Love by Rabbi Allen S. Maller
When I die 
If you need to weep
Cry for someone  
Walking the street beside you.
You can love me most by letting
Hands touch hands, and Souls touch souls.
You can love me most by
Sharing your Simchas (goodness) and
Multiplying your Mitzvot (acts of kindness).
You can love me most by
Letting me live in your eyes
And not on your mind.
And when you say Kaddish for me
Remember what our
Torah teaches,
Love doesn’t die People do.
So when all that’s left of me is love
Give me away.

Return to Top

God Gives and God Takes by Rabbi Allen S. Maller
God gives opportunities for us to love but not forever.
God takes opportunities away after a while.
So don't hesitate or delay or curse the darkness while remaining mired in sadness and hopelessness, because God gives; and God takes away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.
But why bless the LORD when God takes away?
Because if the opportunities were always there, we would wait until the time was just right and never make the leap, and more of life would slip away.
So God gives and God takes; Blessed be God's name.


Return to Top

Krieh – Tearing the Cloth by Harold M. Schulweis
Why rend the clothes?
So strange to a tradition
that admonishes
not to break or to destroy

It is for the sake of anger
against the unfairness of the world
anger against him or her, God or self?
Is tearing the cloth to give outer expression
to the tattered soul within?

Or is it a parallelism
the death of a person like the burning of a Sefer Torah
for which tearing the clothes is performed?

The burial of a human like the burial of a Torah
A human being is like a Sefer Torah
Studied, it has wisdom to impart
Lived, it has goodness to convey.
Rend the garments for the "Torah-mensch"

Each of us a letter in the Torah scroll
Together our lives are intertwined

Our common fate and faith
our common destiny
find us like the stitches of the parchment
when any of us is lost
The holy text is torn.
In memory we are mended.

Return to Top

When Will I Be Myself Again by Rabbi Lewis John Eron
“When will I be myself again?”
Some Tuesday, perhaps,
In the late afternoon,
Sitting quietly with a cup of tea,
And a cookie;
Or Wednesday, same time or later,
You will stir from a nap and see her;
You will pick up the phone to call her;
You will hear her voice – unexpected advice –
And maybe argue.
And you will not be frightened,
And you will not be sad,
And you will not be alone,
Not alone at all,
And your tears will warm you.
But not today,
And not tomorrow,
And not tomorrow’s tomorrow,
But some day,
Some Tuesday, late in the afternoon,
Sitting quietly with a cup of tea,
And a cookie;
And you will be yourself again.


Return to Top

To One in Sorrow by Grace Noll Crowell
Let me come in where you are weeping, friend,
And let me take your hand.
I, who have known a sorrow such as yours,
Can understand.

Let me come in -- I would be very still
Beside you in your grief;
I would not bid you cease your weeping, friend,
Tears can bring relief.

Let me come in -- I would only breathe a prayer,
And hold your hand,
For I have known a sorrow such as yours,
And understand.

Return to Top

To Fall in Battle by Kaila Shabat
They came to tell me that you fell
in the battle for the Chinese Farm,
their faces streaked with sweat, and tears
that were for me.

Then they put you in the ground
beneath the mountain where you were born,
beside the friends with whom you played
and fought and died.

Your little boy did not understand,
he smiled and skipped and stopped
to pick wild cyclamen, which I placed
on your grave.

I saw their tears blending with the rain,
their cold hands clasped mine warmly
but a shield of shock protected me
from the pain.

Now I wander the long white halls
and in the shuffling of slippers
I listen for the thud of your boots
coming towards me.

The doctor behind his desk
says without saying
what I will not understand.

"Others have learned to live
with the death of a loved one".
"Then they knew not love!"

"You are young and beautiful,
there will be another man."
"For me there is no other!"

"What about your little son?
You have a duty to him."
"To raise him to die in battle?"


Return to Top

Jewish Proverbs

What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.
 - Jewish Proverb

The 'gift' of grief is that it presents us with the opportunity to heal and grow.
- Jewish Proverb

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.
– Ecclesiastes

Say not in grief 'he is no more' but in thankfulness that he was. 
- Hebrew Proverb

As long as we live, they too will live; for they are now are a part of us; as we remember them.
- Jewish Prayer

God is closest to those with broken hearts.
- Jewish Proverb

Return to Top

A Mother’s Parable by Temple Baily

The young mother set her foot on the path of Life. “Is the way long?” she asked. And her Guide said, “Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.”

But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed with them in the streams, and the sun shone on them, and life was good, and the young mother cried, “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.”

Then night came with the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle. And the children said, “Oh, Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.” And the mother said, “This is better than the brightest of days, for I have taught my children courage.”

And the morning came and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary. And the mother was weary, but at all times she said to the children, “A little patience and we are there.” So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, “We could not have done it without you, Mother.” And the mother, when she lay down that night, looked up at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of difficulty. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength.”

And the next day came strange clouds that darkened the earth — clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled. And the mother said, “Look up! Lift your eyes to the light.” And the children looked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the mother said, “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”

And the days went on, and the months and the years, and the mother grew old, and she was small and bent. But her children were strong and tall and walked with courage. And when the way was hard, they helped their mother; and when the way was rough they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And the mother said, “I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them.”

And the children said, “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.”

And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said, “We cannot see her, but she is with us. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence.”

Return to Top


 

SEND TO A SHIVA

Find appropriate Jewish Shiva and Sympathy Baskets

Shop Shiva.com


 

LOCAL OPTIONS

Find and select the highest quality, hand-crafted, expertly arranged trays and platters for hand delivery.

Local Options


 

PLANT A TREE IN ISRAEL

Planting trees in Israel is a time-honored way of expressing condolences.

Plant a Tree