15 Poems for a Hunter or Outdoorsperson's Funeral


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Did you recently lose a family member who loved the outdoors? If so, you might be interested in learning about camouflage casket options. You may also want to consider using native plants, grasses, and feathers in the floral arrangements. As you plan the program for the funeral (or the text that will be read during the service), you may consider using one of these hunting poems for funerals.

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Modern funerals have become highly individualized. They celebrate what makes that person unique. Planning a themed funeral may also comfort you as a mourner. You'll grin knowing that your loved one would have approved of your choice of dress for the funeral or the photo you picked for the program cover.  

Here are some poems for a hunter or outdoor lover that may either make you smile or shed bittersweet tears.

If you're searching for poetry to read at a funeral, you might be interested in our post-loss checklist. It can guide you through all the steps you might need to take, from funeral planning to seeking grief support.  

Sad Poems for a Hunter's Funeral

Here are some poems about death that you may consider using for your loved one's funeral. Most of them include references to nature, which makes them appropriate choices for a hunter's funeral. 

Some poems have messages of regret, while others refer to the comfort that God gives to those who believe. 

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1. "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" by Dylan Thomas  

Dylan Thomas' work is one of the most well-known poems about death ever written. Although each stanza of the poem describes a different type of man and his reaction to impending death, the poem takes a turn in the last stanza. The speaker in the poem (who is not Thomas himself) asks his father to fight off his illness. He wants him to "curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears." 

Consider using this poem if you feel as if your loved one "raged" against death before finally succumbing to the inevitable. 

2. "Let Evening Come" by Jane Kenyon

Does being in nature remind you of your loved one? This poem by American poet Jane Kenyon may speak to you.

In the poem, an approaching evening is described through a series of somewhat melancholy, pastoral imagery. The final stanza reassures the reader, "Let it come, as it will, and don't be afraid. God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come."

If you are comforted by your belief in God and your loved one was a lover of the outdoors, this may be the poem to use at the service.

3. "Ice" by Mary Oliver

You may be surprised by which of your loved one's items become suddenly meaningful after his or her death. In this poem by Mary Oliver, the speaker describes how her father made and gave away ice grips to everyone he knew. This kind act was not carefully considered until after his death. Suddenly, the speaker cannot bear the idea of getting rid of these homemade items. She asks her mom in the last line of the poem to "save everything."

Perhaps it wasn't ice grips that you can't fathom getting rid of after your father's death, but there may be another item that you cling to now that he is gone. 

4. "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden

We love this poem that celebrates fathers for performing thankless tasks. In Robert Hayden's poem, the speaker thinks about how his dad would get up early and warm the house before everyone else had to get up for the day. The end of the stanza says, "no one ever thanked him."

If your loved one was the type of person to take care of those details to make your life easier or more comfortable, consider honoring him or her with this poem.

5. "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver

In "Wild Geese," we are reminded of the healing that comes from being in nature. "Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over, announcing your place in the family of things." 

6. "Redemption Song" by Kevin Young

Your loss may feel new at the beginning of each season. In this poem by Kevin Young, the speaker says to his deceased loved one, "I half expect to see you fill the autumn air like breath." If your loved one was a hunter, fall might be a difficult time for you.

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7. "Never More Will the Wind" by Hilda Doolittle

When you think of your loved one, do you often imagine him or her out in nature? In this poem, the speaker laments that "Never more shall we find you bright in the snow and wind." This sad poem may be difficult for you to read at your loved one's funeral, but it may speak the truth about how you feel.

Funny or Uplifting Poems for a Hunter's Funeral

It's tricky finding funny or uplifting poems to use for a themed funeral. While your loved one may have appreciated your attempt at levity during the funeral, others may not think it’s in good taste. Use humor during a funeral only after great thought and consideration.

8. "Bereavement" by Kevin Young

We include Kevin Young's poem "Bereavement" in this section of "funny" poems only because of one line. The speaker in the poem has recently lost his father, and he reflects on his father's hunting dogs, who are kenneled outside his deceased father’s home. He calls the trained dogs "brothers-in-paw."

The speaker wonders about the dogs' grief while thinking about re-homing the animals. 

9. "Gone Fishin" by Delmar Pepper

This lighthearted poem is written from the point of view of the deceased. Perhaps you can envision your loved one reassuring you by saying, "don't worry, or feel sad for me, I'm fishin' with the master of the sea."

10. "The Deer Hunter's Prayer" by Unknown

This short poem reads, "When I enter through the pearly gates and come into your glory land, instead of the mansion you promised, Lord, how about just an ole tree stand?"

More Poems for an Outdoors Person's Funeral 

Finding the right funeral poem for your loved one's service may take time. After all, you want to find a poem with the right tone and one that reflects your family's beliefs. 

Here are some poems you may consider if your loved one enjoyed spending time outdoors. 

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11. "Snowdrop" by Ted Hughes

A snowdrop is a delicate-looking plant that survives during cold temperatures. This poem is not sentimental. It speaks about how, regardless of the harshness of nature, some will survive.

12. "She's in the Sun, the Wind, the Rain" by Christy Ann Martine

There are quite a few poems written with the theme of looking for deceased loved one’s while spending time in nature. This version is written by the modern poet Christy Ann Martine. It states, "you'll see her in the clouds above, hear her whisper words of love."

13. "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye

This often-used funeral poem is similar in theme to the previous one on our list. It is written from the perspective of the deceased. The speaker reminds mourners, "I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain." 

The first four lines of this poem were used on the memorial dedicated to those who perished while climbing Mount Everest. 

14. Psalm 23

The 23rd Psalm is a beautiful piece of poetry often read at a person's death bed. If your loved one connected with nature, share these beautiful verses with others who are mourning his or her death. 

This chapter in the book of Psalms begins, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."

15. "Irish Blessing" by Unknown

We don't know the origin of the "Irish Blessing," but if you are planning your own funeral, consider leaving this behind for your mourners to read. The full poem reads, "May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand."

Consider Choosing Your Own Funeral Poem

Whether you choose the Irish Blessing or another poem not on our list, consider selecting the poem you would like to have read at your own funeral. This will give you the ability to "speak from the grave."

Don't limit your funeral planning to only picking a poem. Let your family know whether you want to be buried or cremated and the desired location of your final resting place. Leaving these details to your mourners is one of the kindest things you can do for them. 

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