The Passing of the Year

Robert W. Service

 

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
     My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
     And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
     Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
     With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
     You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter's chime
     Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
     You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
     And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
     Let us all read, whate'er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
     Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
     For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
     What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
     So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
     That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
     What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope? O Optimist!
     What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
     What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
     What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
     What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
     What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
     The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
     And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
     Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
     Old weary year! it's time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
     My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
     And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that's true,
     For we've been comrades, you and I --
I thank God for each day of you;
     There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

 

Poems by This Author

The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service
There are strange things done in the midnight sun


Further Reading

Related Poems
The Backyard Mermaid
by Matthea Harvey
Poems about Maidens
Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allan Poe
Aunt Helen
by T.S. Eliot
Fern Hill
by Dylan Thomas
Goblin Market
by Christina Rossetti
Maiden Lane
by Louise Morgan Sill
Meaningful Love
by John Ashbery
The Métier of Blossoming
by Denise Levertov
The Solitary Reaper
by William Wordsworth
Poems About New Year's
In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
A Good Year Down
by Jeni Olin
A New Law
by Greg Delanty
A Song for New Year's Eve
by William Cullen Bryant
At the Entering of the New Year
by Thomas Hardy
Fragments for the End of the Year
by Jennifer K. Sweeney
Heavy Snowfall in A Year Gone Past
by Laura Jensen
In Tenebris
by Ford Madox Ford
Letter to GC
by Dana Levin
Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays
by Charles Reznikoff
New Year's Morning
by Helen Hunt Jackson
New years' morning
by Carl Adamshick
Te Deum
by Charles Reznikoff
The Call of the Open
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
The Garden Year
by Sara Coleridge
The New Year
by Emma Lazarus
The Old Year
by John Clare
The Year
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The Year's Awakening
by Thomas Hardy
Written in the Beginning of the Year 1746
by William Collins