Often in the midst of grief, we have to express the most profound emotions, when we are in fact numb as a result of the loss. Memorial poems have been used for generations as way of conveying these emotions. People are often concerned regarding memorial poems, as the rhyming structure and the tempo that we associate with poetry can be daunting even though it can be an excellent form for articulating emotion.
Traditionally a poem is conceived in periods of intense feeling, the imagery and vivid descriptions, contained within, help to impart this. The structure is only a format, it is not the key part of the poem, the expression of feeling however is. The cathartic affect of a poem are what you are looking for, to honour the loved one, to help others gather their thoughts and for you to vocalise what you are feeling.
A common mistake is that believe that memorial poems should be written on the first draft, very few poets do that, they create drafts, modify the words, the imagery on an ongoing basis. They are trying to bring the message of the poem as close to what they think as can possibly be. As they go through drafts, the poem will evolve; it will read different at each stage. A poem is a living thing; do not worry about the first draft.
Once the central message of the poem is established, you can start to look at the rhythm and structure, the elements that we associate with complete memorial poems. Do not worry about the rhyming structure but how it reads, does it flow naturally and coherently.
A good idea is to get a friend to read the memorial poem aloud. It will sound different and read different to them and for you. We all bring our own interpretations to a poem, note the words that they focus on, if they are ones that expressing what you feel, and then your memorial poem is ready.
One key thing about memorial poems is that they are a vehicle for your emotions, once they do that they are perfect, they have achieved their raison d’etre, there is no such thing as a bad memorial poem.