The Passing of the Year (Poem)

31 Dec

Time Flies Birdcage Clock

I’m always amazed by the human spirit’s agility in the face of unending change, and never more so than at the start of a new year.

What will 2013 hold for you, for me, for the world? New jobs, news discoveries, new inspiration? New losses, new challenges, new hope?

This poem captures that adaptation better than I ever could. I hope you enjoy it.

The Passing of the Year

by Robert W. Service

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,

My den is all a cozy 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!

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2 Responses to “The Passing of the Year (Poem)”

  1. katbiggie December 31, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    Great poem! I hope 2013 is full of bright and cheerful events!

    • Angela Taylor Hylland January 3, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      Bright and cheerful sounds perfect to me. Bouncing those good wishes right back to you. Happy 2013!

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