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Thank you, SW Barratt

Winifred Mary Letts

“Alive” a Poem by Winifred Mary Letts

Published: March 13, 2024

Renowned for her literary prowess and evocative writing style, Winifred Mary Letts was a celebrated British author and poet. Winifred Mary Letts was born in England on 10th February 1882 and passed away on 7th June 1972. As a writer she spent most of her time in Ireland. She was educated in Staffordshire and in Dublin, Ireland. She is best known for her moving funeral poem, “Alive.” which has been used as one of the popular funeral poems.

Her writing extended beyond poetry, novel, and play writing, focusing on the struggles and triumphs of rural living and the ordinary people who inhabited it. Her work was a poignant reflection of her time’s social and political landscape, solidifying her place as one of the most accomplished writers of her era.


In 1916, while working as a nurse in a military hospital, Letts composed the emotional and poignant poem “Alive.” The piece is a heartfelt tribute to those who have passed away, reminding us that although they may no longer be with us, they will always live on in our hearts and memories. Winifred Mary Letts poems, novels and plays still live on today

For many years, “Alive” has appeared among the top-rated funeral poems for mother, and has served as a significant source of comfort to mourners and has been read at several high-profile funerals. The poem gained widespread popularity when it was reportedly read at the funeral of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s husband. “Alive” has also been featured in popular films and television shows, including the British drama series “Downton Abbey,” where it was recited at the funeral of a prominent character, gaining widespread praise for its touching and inspiring words. Letts passed away on the 7th June 1972.

The poets ability to capture the enduring power of love and convey it through her writing is a testament to her skill as a poet.

“Alive” a Poem by Winifred Mary Letts

Because you live, though out of sight and reach,
I will, so help me God, live bravely too,
Taking the road with laughter and gay speech,
Alert, intent to give life all its due.
I will delight my soul with many things,
The humours of the street and books and plays,
Great rocks and waves winnowed by seagulls’ wings,
Star-jewelled Winter nights, gold harvest days.

I will for your sake praise what I have missed,
The sweet content of long-united lives,
The sunrise joy of lovers who have kissed,
Children with flower-faces, happy wives.
And last I will praise Death who gives anew
Brave life adventurous and love—and you.

For more poem inspiration visit the Save Funeral Costs blog of funeral poems.

If you would like to learn more about locating low-cost funerals, low-cost headstones, natural burials, DIY funerals, free financial help from the Government and charities as well as bereavement support, then please visit Save Funeral Costs™

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SW Barratt
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