Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Passing Of The Year - Poem by Robert William 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!


Comments about The Passing Of The Year by Robert William Service

  • Electric Lady (12/30/2016 6:24:00 PM)


    What a beautiful poem. It's so powerful and intriguing. One I would read over and over again. Bravo! (Report) Reply

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  • (12/30/2016 5:56:00 PM)


    Great poem. Thanks for this poet. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (12/30/2016 3:47:00 AM)

    tom allport
    it's no good thinking of what's gone and could have been instead embrace the new and the unforeseen. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/30/2016 1:05:00 AM)

    The old year!
    Sage in pain! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (12/30/2016 1:04:00 AM)


    Farewell to 2016++++++++++ Hello 2017! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Classic poem! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! +++++++++++ (Report) Reply

  • Soulful Heart (1/2/2016 11:14:00 PM)


    The sage of time......meditating on the past to enlighten the future year.....some harsh some pleasant.......a goodbye to the PST year that has become a part of the in erasable history........ (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (1/2/2016 2:58:00 PM)


    He is right - we should thank God for every day last year because we still stand here to ring in the new one. Some are even more fortunate. All their loved ones they began the year with are still here to greet the next. That is an awesome blessing to receive, (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (1/2/2016 12:35:00 PM)


    Only RWS could have done it this way!
    After he created Sam McGee
    And shot Dan McGrew,
    What else was there left to do?
    (Report) Reply

    Jerry Nobles (12/30/2016 10:28:00 AM)

    ...things I wish that I had said. Great comment.

    Lantz Pierre Lantz Pierre (12/30/2016 2:26:00 AM)

    I've never been a big fan of his but when I look at that way, well, Kim, when you're right you write.

  • Ramesh T A (1/2/2016 9:43:00 AM)


    Another Chance!

    Saturday night opens door for another time
    To enjoy fete with friends like on New Year day!
    Full Sunday is to enjoy time better than before
    Making all feel we have extension of NY day!

    Another chance to say cheers with friends dear
    Meeting them in the library, beach and park
    To go to a roof garden restaurant to enjoy fun
    With cocktail party as done in New Year day!

    It is really a double chance this year to do so
    And it gives the impression that this year will
    Offer chances twice to try our efforts in the
    Ventures we all play to undertake in the course!

    Surely the celebration again after New year
    Day is like seeing Blue Moon in one month!
    (Report) Reply

  • Dr John Celes (1/2/2016 7:09:00 AM)


    a very entertaining readable poem on the old year written in a unique way. (Report) Reply

  • (1/2/2016 4:26:00 AM)


    Great poem. Enjoyed reading it. (Report) Reply

  • (1/2/2016 12:51:00 AM)


    I like this poem //////// (Report) Reply

  • (1/2/2016 12:35:00 AM)


    Very beautiful and symbolic (Report) Reply

  • Spock The Vegan (12/28/2015 6:11:00 PM)


    Another great poem by Robert William Service. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sad, smile, fire, hope, pain, despair, evil, pride, girl, fear, joy, lost, dark, thanks



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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