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The Cremation of Sam McGee

The Cremation of Sam McGee

by Robert Service

Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights (line 5)

This line almost makes us feel like the Northern Lights are watching what’s going on down below them. In a way, they sound like they could be a character in the poem. They give us a feeling for how exotic and magical this place is. All the way through, the speaker pays attention to what’s going on in the sky. It’s one of the ways that he keeps us focused on the amazing natural setting where his story takes place.

Quote #2

Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail. (line 14)

What a great line! Can’t you just feel that cold slicing into you? Worming its way into the holes in your clothes and trying to get right into the heart of you? If you’ve ever been out on a freezing winter day, you’ll know this feeling, the way the cold can seem like a wild animal. We think Service does a great job of capturing that here.

Quote #3

And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe, (line 18)

This is a sweet, quiet moment. For a second at least, we’re not fighting with nature. In fact, we’re at peace with it. We can imagine happy, full dogs and a beautiful sky completely alive with stars. We like that kind of folksy image of the stars square dancing way up in the sky.

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