Nature has always been a source of inspiration for poets, especially when their poetry tackles subjects like death and grief. Here are some of our favourite poems about nature for funerals. If there’s one you like, you could read it at a funeral as a tribute to a nature lover or keen gardener.
Religious and spiritual nature poems for funerals
These funeral poems look at nature from a spiritual perspective. They might suit a Christian funeral or another kind of religious service.
In My Mind by Jenn Farrell
Jenn Farrell wrote ‘In My Mind’ for her brother, who died at a young age. It’s easy to adapt the poem to suit another person, though. Just change the word ‘brother’ to ‘friend’, ‘sister’ or ‘father’.
The poem uses religion and nature to make sense of grief. It compares the person who has died to a flower, hand-picked for God’s garden.
You can read ‘In My Mind’ here.
On a Butterfly’s Wings by Jim Howard
‘On a Butterfly’s Wings’ is a positive and hopeful poem, written from the perspective of a person who has died. The message is that you can take comfort in knowing that the person is now part of nature.
The poem mentions religious ideas like souls and prayers, but it isn’t tied to any particular faith. You could read it at a funeral for someone who had spiritual beliefs but didn’t follow a specific religion.
You can find the poem here. The website doesn’t list a title, so look for the one that begins with the words ‘where I have gone’.
Deep Peace by Fiona Macleod
There are many versions of this poem. Some have a Christian message, while others focus purely on nature. Its repeated words make it feel a little like a prayer, so it still seems spiritual even if it doesn’t mention God.
‘Deep Peace’ is sometimes referred to as a Gaelic blessing or Celtic prayer. It was actually written by a Scottish poet called Fiona Macleod in 1899.
We’ve shared a short version of the poem below. You can read the original here.
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to you;
Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to you,
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
A humanist funeral poem about nature
Finding You in Beauty by Walter Rinder
This poem is ideal for a humanist or non-religious funeral. It doesn’t talk about God or an afterlife. Instead, the poet feels that his loved one lives on through the beauty of the natural world.
‘Finding You in Beauty’ was written by Walter Rinder, a humanist poet and photographer.
You can read it here.
Nature funeral poems about the sea
There are lots of poems that use the ocean as a symbol for death and grief. These could make good funeral readings for someone who worked on a ship or simply loved being beside the sea.
Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
In this famous poem, the ‘bar’ is a sandbar – a stretch of sand that separates a river from the sea. When Tennyson mentions ‘crossing the bar’, he’s really talking about crossing over to the afterlife. He says he hopes his death will be quiet and gentle – there’ll ‘be no moaning of the bar’ when he passes away.
There’s a short extract below. You can read the full poem here.
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Gone From My Sight by the Rev. Luther F. Beecher
This piece is sometimes called ‘What Is Dying?’ or ‘Parable of Immortality’. It was probably written by a priest called Luther F. Beecher, though no one knows for sure.
The poem begins with a person standing on a beach. They watch a beautiful ship sail out to the horizon, where it disappears. The message is that death is like a journey – while the narrator can no longer see the ship, that doesn’t mean it’s gone.
Here’s part of the complete poem.
And just at that moment
when someone at my side says: ‘There! She’s gone!’
there are other eyes that are watching for her coming;
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
‘There she comes!’
And that is—‘dying’.
Sea-Fever by John Masefield
This is another famous poem inspired by the sea. It’s not really about death – it’s more of a tribute to the ocean and its raw beauty. However, the last line hopes for ‘a sweet dream when the long trick’s over’, which feels a bit like a farewell.
The first verse is below. Here’s the poem in full.
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
Nature funeral poems about flowers and trees
These pieces are all about the beauty of plants. They would make good funeral poems for a nature lover who spent a lot of time in their garden.
Trees by Joyce Kilmer
Joyce Kilmer wrote lots of poems about nature. ‘Trees’ is by far the most famous. It’s a short and simple piece that reflects on religion and the natural world.
‘Trees’ doesn’t mention death, but it would be a fitting tribute to a person who appreciated nature. It’s the kind of poem that might make people smile at a funeral.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall by A. L. Frink
‘The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall’ describes a beautiful rose growing in a garden. Over time, the rose grows through a crack in a wall, where the sun continues to shine.
The rose represents a person who has died and the wall represents death. The poet is saying that the person will flourish and bring joy, even in the afterlife.
Read the poem here.
Short nature poems for funerals
These poems are short enough to write in a condolence card or attach to funeral flowers. You could also read them at the end of a eulogy (a funeral tribute speech).
We Are All Painters by Ola Radka
Ola Radka has written several short poems about nature. ‘We Are All Painters’ could be the best choice for a funeral. It touches on subjects like death, grief and memory and uses nature as a symbol for life’s ups and downs. Radka says that people are like painters, mixing the colours of our life experiences.
Here’s the poem in full.
The Tide Recedes by M. D. Hughes
‘The Tide Recedes’ compares the motion of the tide to a person’s life. The sea washes over the beach, scattering seashells. The sun goes down but leaves a gentle warmth on the land. And when music stops, we still hear an echo in the air.
The message is simple and powerful: when a person dies, they leave beautiful memories behind.
You can read ‘The Tide Recedes’ here.
More funeral poetry ideas
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