Posts in Burial
Yizkor Reading

Shall I cry out in anger, O God,
Because Your gifts are mine but for a while? Shall I forget the blessing of health
The moment there is pain?

Shall I be ungrateful for the laughter,
the seasons of joy, the days of gladness,
when tears cloud my eyes and darken the world and my heart is heavy within me?

Shall I blot from my mind the love
I have rejoiced in when fate
leaves me bereft of shining presences that have lit my way through the years of companionship and affection?

Shall I, in days of adversity, fail to recall the hours of glory You once did grant me?

Shall I, in turmoil of need and anxiety,
Cease blessing You for the peace of former days? Shall the time of darkness put out for ever
The glow of light in which once I walked?

Give me the vision, O God, to see
that embedded in each of your gifts
is a core of eternity, undiminished and bright,
an eternity that survives the dread hours of affliction.

Those I have loved, though now beyond my view, Have given form and quality to my being.
They have led me into the wide universe
I continue to inhabit, and their presence

is more real to me than their absence.

What You give to me, O Lord, You never take away.
And bounties granted once Shed their radiance evermore. —by Morris Adler

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Return This Body

This body that has borne her all her life from birth to death, that gave her breath to live and sight to see, that has served her every need, that has shown you the beauty of her unique person in its eyes and made you aware of her presence in your heart, and without which she would be a mystery to you; we now return to its source with the grace it deserves from us, without our attachment to it but with our lasting love for her.

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Peace, my Heart

Peace, my heart, let the time for
the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain
into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end
in the folding of the wings over the
nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be
gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a
moment, and say your last words in
silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp
to light you on your way.

-- Rabindranath Tagore

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When a Great Soul Dies

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

-- Maya Angelou

 

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Reading, Ecclesiastes 3, vv 1 - 14

There is a time for everything,  and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die,  

a time to plant and a time to uproot,  

a time to kill and a time to heal,  

a time to tear down and a time to build,  

a time to weep and a time to laugh,  

a time to mourn and a time to dance,  

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,  

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,  

 a time to search and a time to give up,  

a time to keep and a time to throw away,  

a time to tear and a time to mend,  

a time to be silent and a time to speak,  

a time to love and a time to hate,  

a time for war and a time for peace. 

 

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I Carry Your Heart

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in 

My heart) I am never without it (anywhere 

I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done 

By only me is your doing, my darling)  [or Dear Grandpa?] 

I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want 

No world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) 

And it's you are whatever a moon has always meant 

And whatever a sun will always sing is you 

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows 

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud 

And the sky of a tree called life; which grows 

Higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) 

And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart 

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart) 

-- ee cummings

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A Prayer

May perpetual light shine upon 

The face of he who rests here.  

May the remembering earth  

Mind every memory he brought.  

May the rains from the heavens  

Fall gently upon him.  

May the wildflowers and grasses  

Whisper their wishes into the light.

May we reverence the village of presence  

In the stillness of this silent field.  

-- Adapted from a poem by John Donohue

 

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Blessed Are Those Who Give Meaning to Our Lives

Blessed are those who give meaning to our lives;

holy and precious is the example they leave behind.

We pray: May our sorrows diminish as we recall their strength.

May their wisdom protect us and help us to live.

Let our grief be transformed into tenderness for those who are still with us.

-- Jewish prayer

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Reading from The Song of Songs, Psalms Chapter 2

I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.

As a lily among the thistles, so is my beloved among girls.

As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my love among young men. In his delightful shade I sit, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.

He has taken me to his cellar, and his banner over me is love.

Feed me with raisin cakes, restore me with apples, for I am sick with love.

His left arm is under my head, his right embraces me.

I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, by all gazelles and wild does, do not rouse, do not wake my beloved before she pleases.

BELOVED: I hear my love. See how he comes leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills.

My love is like a gazelle, like a young stag. See where he stands behind our wall. He looks in at the window, he peers through the opening.

My love lifts up his voice, he says to me, 'Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.

For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone.

'Flowers are appearing on the earth. The season of glad songs has come, the cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.

The fig tree is forming its first figs and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance. Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.

'My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock, in the coverts of the cliff, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.'

Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards, for our vineyards are in fruit.

My love is mine and I am his. He pastures his flock among the lilies.

Before the day-breeze rises, before the shadows flee, return! Be, my love, like a gazelle, like a young stag, on the mountains of Bether.

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May the Arms of God

May the arms of God raise her from the darkness of this planets' earth and surround her with light; 

If she is thirsty, give her water in the clearing.  

If she is hungry, give her food in the clearing. 

May her life on this Earth and the pain of her passing become as a dream to her waking soul, and let her eyes fall upon every lovely sight; let her find her family and friends that have been lost to her, and let everyone whose name she calls call her in return. 

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Mourner’s Kaddish in English Translation

Glorified and sanctified be Gods great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will.

May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored andlauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

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The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,

Their greenness is a kind of grief.
 
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
 
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.


-- Philip Larkin
 

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On Death

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

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.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

-- Kahlil Gibran

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i thank You God for this amazing day

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-- e.e. cummings

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At a Grave

They who stand with breaking hearts around this [little] grave, need have no fear. The larger and the nobler faith in all that is, and is to be, tells us that death, even at its worst, is only perfect rest. We know that through the common wants of life—the needs and duties of each hour—their grief will lessen day by day, until at last this grave will be to them a place of rest and peace—almost of joy. There is for them this consolation: The dead do not suffer. If they live again, their lives will surely be as good as ours. We have no fear. We are all children of the same mother, and the same fate awaits us all. We, too, have our religion [belief], and it is this:
Help for the living—Hope for the dead.

-- Robert G. Ingersoll, adapted

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Evening


The snail gives off stillness.
The weed is blessed.
At the end of a long day
The man finds joy, the water peace.

Let all be simple. Let all stand still
Without a final direction.
That which brings you into the world
To take you away at death
Is one and the same;
The shadow long and pointy
Is its church.

At night some understand what the grass says.
The grass knows a word or two.
It is not much. It repeats the same word
Again and again, but not too loudly.

-- Charles Simic
 

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Requiem

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you, 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

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Come to the Meadow to Visit Me

Come to the meadow to visit me
Down by the roots of a tree
Waste not your tears on the stone cold graves
Water a flower for me
Give me to the earth when my winter comes
Bury me deep in the ground
Mark not my place with statues or caves
Find me where life can be found
Visit a garden on warm, summer days
Keep company with blossoms and bees
Remember my heart blooms forever in yours
Take comfort from shushing shade trees
Let autumn surround you with life and the living
Birdsong and aging green leaves
Look up at the sky, give thanks for sun and rain
When you think of me, smile more than grieve
Come to the forest to visit me
Down by the roots of a tree
Live every day that is given to you
Water a new flower for me.

-- adapted from a poem by Lurana Brown


 

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Into the Darkness


Into the darkness and warmth of the earth
We lay you down
Into the sadness and smiles of our memories
We lay you down
Into the cycle of living and dying and rising again
We lay you down
May you rest in peace, in fulfilment, in loving
May you run straight home in Earth’s embrace

-- Ruth Burgess

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From "Adonais"

He is made one with Nature: there is heard
His voice in all her music, from the moan
Of thunder, to the song of night’s sweet bird; 
He is a presence to be felt and known
In darkness and in light, from herb and stone, 
Spreading itself where’er that Power may move
Which has withdrawn his being to its own; 
Which wields the world with never-wearied love,
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above.

-- Percy Bysshe Shelley

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