Gone From My Sight: A Comforting Funeral Poem by Henry Van Dyke orRev. Luther F. Beecher

 

Introduction

In times of loss, finding the right words to express our feelings and bring comfort to others can be challenging. The poem “Gone From My Sight,” also known as the “Parable of Immortality” or “What Is Dying,” offers a serene and consoling image of life and death. Presumably penned by the Rev. Luther F. Beecher and occasionally attributed to Henry van Dyke, this poem is a popular choice for funerals and memorial services.

The Poem

“I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, ‘There, she is gone.’
Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, ‘There, she is gone,’ there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, ‘Here she comes!’
And that is dying…”

Reflection

This powerful metaphor of a ship setting sail and disappearing from sight only to be welcomed on another shore perfectly captures the essence of life and death. It reminds us that though our loved ones may no longer be visible to us, they continue their journey beyond our sight. This poem brings peace and hope, suggesting that death is not an end, but a transition to a new beginning.

Use in Funeral Services

“Gone From My Sight” is a touching addition to any funeral or memorial service. Its gentle imagery and profound message make it suitable for readings, eulogies, and printed programs. It helps mourners find solace in the thought that their loved one has embarked on a new voyage, welcomed by those on the other side.

Conclusion

Whether you are planning a funeral, writing a eulogy, or seeking comfort in your own grief, “Gone From My Sight” by Rev. Luther F. Beecher offers a timeless message of peace and immortality. Its enduring appeal lies in its simple yet profound depiction of life’s continuity beyond death.

 

 

All the poems I share on my website or social media are often found in the public domain and are sometimes used at funerals.

Wherever known, I do give credit and thanks to the author.

If you know the author of any I have marked as ‘unknown’, then let me know, and I will amend the page.

If you chose to share or use the poetry at a funeral or memorial service, please give the author credit.

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See the list of other Poems for Funerals