Readings & Poems

An American Indian Legend

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must
capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since they make no sound, they can’t tell the wish
to anyone but the Great Spirit.

So by making the wish and releasing the butterfly
it will be taken to the heavens and be granted.


The following line is often added when the Legend is read prior to releasing butterflies at a wedding:

We have gathered to grant this couple all our best wishes and are about to set these butterflies free in trust that all these wishes will be granted.


For a funeral or memorial service:

Look through eyes of hope and see
A butterfly inside the caterpillar,
Hope knows that beauty is waiting to be born
In the unlikeliest places…

-Thea Miller Ryan


A Butterfly Lights Beside Us

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam.

And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world.
But then it flies on again,
And though we wish it could have stayed,
We feel so lucky to have seen it.

Today we celebrate life with the release of butterflies.
The animals you have been given will emerge from their envelopes and alight on your hand for a moment before flying off.
Butterflies, a symbol of life and freedom, were always special to (name).
When instructed, please open the envelope and allow the butterfly to emerge on its own.
It may take a few moments for the beautiful creature to adjust to the light and temperature before it flies off.
These animals are natives, will thrive and insure the continuation of their species, keeping memory alive.



Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

-Mary Elizabeth Frye.



As you release this butterfly in honor of me,
Know that I’m with you and will always be.
Hold a hand, say a prayer,

Close your eyes and see me there.

Although you may feel a bit torn apart,
Please know that I’ll be forever in your heart.

Now fly away butterfly as high as you can go,
Right there with you more than you know.

-Jill Haley


Miss Me But Let Me Go

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little–but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me–but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss Me–But Let me Go!

-Edgar A. Guest


I Am Always With You

When I am gone, release me, let me go.

I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears,

But be thankful we had so many good years.

I gave you my love, and you can only guess
How much you’ve given me in happiness.

I thank you for the love that you have shown,
But now it is time I traveled on alone.

So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust
That it is only for a while that we must part,
So treasure the memories within your heart.

I won’t be far away for life goes on.

And if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can’t see or touch me, I will be near
And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear
All my love around you soft and clear

And then, when you come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and a “Welcome Home.”



In My Heart Forever

The time has come for me to release you
Free to fly high above this world.
Where the flowers forever bloom &
The ultimate love fills the space.

In my attempt to try to keep you
I’ve only been able to hold the anger
Not realizing that I have to let you go
I can’t hold on.

I’ll no more keep your pain alive,
I won’t try to hold you down.
I’ll let you fly on to higher ground.

My grief has left a numbness,
as if this isn’t real
You are in my heart forever,
but I know I have to let you free.

Soar high.
Laugh as a child that feels the joy of the moment.

Play among the rivers flowing through the hills.
Roam the fields of daisies.
Fly to the top of the mountains.

With closed eyes, I see you among the flowers,
High above the clouds.

Your presence blows through me with the breeze.
Your smile beams down on through the sun.
The full moon brings the light of your laughter to my mind.

And the Butterfly in all its splendor reminds me
of your beauty and freedom now.
Leaving your love for me lingering in my world.

-Cynthia Taylor


Free the Butterflies

Free the butterflies-
I’ll be there to see them soar
upon the air.

Know my spirit
is on the wing,
feel my laughter-
hear me sing.

Forever in your dreams
always in your heart.

-Fran LeMasters