Last Journey – Funeral Poem by Timothy Coote

Read by Marc Lemezma Funeral Celebrant – Maidstone Kent

 

We are all familiar with the idea that life is a journey. Timothy Coote’s poem, Last Journey, read by Marc Lemezma, a Funeral Celebrant from Maidstone, Kent, cleverly uses the analogy of a train ride to symbolize both the idea of death being the final leg of our travels and the concept that life has a natural order, where we must accept that some of us will depart sooner than others.

The Poem 

 

There is a train at the station With a seat reserved just for me

I’m excited about its destination As I’ve heard it sets you free

The trials and tribulations The pain and stress we breathe

Don’t exist where I am going Only happiness I believe

I hope that you will be there To wish me on my way

It’s not a journey you can join in It’s not your time today

There’ll be many destinations Some are happy, some are sad

Each one a brief reminder Of the great times that we’ve had

Many friends I know are waiting Who took an earlier train

To greet and reassure me That nothing has really changed

We’ll take the time together To catch up on the past

To build a new beginning One that will always last

One day you’ll take your journey On the train just like me

And I promise that I’ll be there At the station and you will see

That life is just a journey Enriched by those you meet

No-one can take that from you It’s always yours to keep

But now as no seat is vacant You will have to muddle through

Make sure you fulfil your ambitions As you know I’ll be watching you

And if there’s an occasion To mention who you knew

Speak kindly of that person As one day it will be you

Now I can’t except this ending And as it’s time for me to leave

Please make haste to the reception To enjoy my drinks, they’re free!

 

The Universal Journey of Life and Death

Last Journey captures the essence of life and death through the metaphor of a train journey. This metaphor resonates deeply with many, particularly those with a passion for railways. The poem is an excellent choice for the funeral of railway enthusiasts, as illustrated by Lemezma’s reading at the funeral of a retired railway engineer.

 

 

Detailed Analysis of the Poem

The Reserved Seat

“There is a train at the station / With a seat reserved just for me”

Coote opens with a powerful image of a reserved seat, suggesting a predetermined destiny and the inevitability of death. This reserved seat symbolizes the certainty of our departure, evoking a sense of acceptance and readiness for the journey ahead.

The Destination

“I’m excited about its destination / As I’ve heard it sets you free”

The destination of the train is depicted as a place of liberation, free from the trials and tribulations of life. This perspective offers a comforting view of death, portraying it as a release from pain and stress.

The Journey’s Companions

“I hope that you will be there / To wish me on my way / It’s not a journey you can join in / It’s not your time today”

Coote addresses the living, reminding them that their time will come, but it is not now. This segment emphasizes the solitary nature of the final journey while also acknowledging the support and love of those left behind.

The Destinations

“There’ll be many destinations / Some are happy, some are sad / Each one a brief reminder / Of the great times that we’ve had”

The poem reflects on the different phases of life, represented as various destinations. These phases evoke both joy and sorrow, serving as reminders of shared experiences and cherished memories.

Reuniting with Friends

“Many friends I know are waiting / Who took an earlier train / To greet and reassure me / That nothing has really changed”

The imagery of reuniting with friends who have “taken an earlier train” offers solace. It suggests continuity beyond death, where relationships persist and old friends await us.

The Promise of Reunion

“One day you’ll take your journey / On the train just like me / And I promise that I’ll be there / At the station and you will see”

This promise of reunion reassures the living that death is not an end but a transition, where loved ones will be there to welcome them when their time comes.

The Continuation of Life

“But now as no seat is vacant / You will have to muddle through / Make sure you fulfil your ambitions / As you know I’ll be watching you”

The poet encourages the living to continue their journey, fulfill their ambitions, and live fully, knowing that they are being watched over by those who have departed.

The Final Farewell

“And if there’s an occasion / To mention who you knew / Speak kindly of that person / As one day it will be you”

Coote emphasizes the importance of remembering and speaking kindly of the deceased, reinforcing the idea that we will all eventually embark on this final journey.

A Celebration of Life

“Now I can’t except this ending / And as it’s time for me to leave / Please make haste to the reception / To enjoy my drinks, they’re free!”

The poem concludes on a lighter note, inviting the mourners to celebrate life and the memory of the departed, rather than dwelling in sorrow.

Conclusion

Timothy Coote’s Last Journey is a poignant and thoughtful reflection on life and death, using the metaphor of a train journey to explore themes of departure, reunion, and the continuity of relationships. It offers comfort and reassurance, making it a perfect choice for funeral readings, especially for those with a love for railways.

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See the list of other Poems for Funerals