The Scottish Poetry Library

Poetry in Funerals

This is the first in what we hope will be an occasional series of posts on poetry in funerals.

Earlier in the year a SICA member approached me to ask if I could help with sourcing a poem with some quite specific characteristics. It had to refer to rural life in the north east…. but be written in standard Scots or English – not in broad Doric.

I have a few contacts in the Scottish poetry world and I was able to link up the celebrant with a poet. And in turn they used the Scottish Poetry Library to search for something suitable.

This got me thinking about the potential role of the Library in helping celebrants to find poems that can be appropriate and meaningful in specific cases, and that allow us to suggest work that goes beyond the “poems for funerals” that I’m sure we’re all familiar with.

By chance I met a project co-ordinator from the Library at an event in the spring and I talked about our work. He was keen to say that the Library is always delighted to help people source the perfect poem. One way to do this is to use their Ask A Librarian service. Or you can call or pop in if you’re in Edinburgh – it’s a very nice space to visit.

If you’ve found a poem that was just right for a particular situation and would like to share your experience and perhaps have it featured here (or if you’re struggling to find something) then please do get in touch on the member feedback form


Michael Hannah


myres castle, auchtermuchty