Even when "The Cremation of Sam McGee" is being funny, it never gets very far away from the theme of death. It’s all about the reality of death, how it happens, and how you deal with the aftermath. Service takes us through all the stages of death and dying. Actually, we think it’s pretty amazing he could make a subject like this funny at all.
While it deals with the subject in a funny way, this is really a poem about the importance of respecting the dead and treating them with care.
Even though the ending of the poem is funny, the image of a man rising from the flames has a serious mythical power that gives the final lines real strength.