Recently I posted the poem by Auden used in “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” Parts of it absolutely tear the heart right out of you because it totally expresses how you feel when you lose someone you love.
But just imagine if you could have a tribute written that fits exactly the person you are giving it to. It wouldn’t be generic in any way. There is no greater way to express how you feel that giving a custom-written tribute to someone important in your life. Sure choosing from a list of famous poems would show you put some thought into it, but writing it just about the person is by far the best.
You have to be careful, though. I presented a very personal, custom-written rhyming tribute to my friend, honoring her father at the time he died. He had been Captain of the Intrepid and I’d heard many stories about him. Well, by the time she finished reading it she was standing in a puddle of tears.
Had I known it would touch her that deeply I would have sifted through a list of Famous Poems and chosen something appropriate. It wouldn’t have had any of the essence of the man and the funny anecdotes and touching moments she so cherished, but at least she wouldn’t have been so moved.
Then again, a good cry can be very cathartic. It can leave you feeling renewed, almost as if you’ve had a good night’s sleep. So maybe I shouldn’t feel so sorry to have touched my friend’s heart so deeply with the tribute about her dad. Probably one of the famous poems I would have chosen wouldn’t have moved her nearly as much.