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The Cremation of Sam McGee

The Cremation of Sam McGee


by Robert Service

Stanza 11 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 45-46

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;

  • Now, the speaker tells us just how the cremation went down.
  • He takes some boards and some coal, and he tosses them into the ships boiler, which is the big oven that a riverboat would use to make steam to power it. He builds the fire up extra hot.

Lines 47-48

The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

  • The fire gets huge, turning into a roaring blaze. (After all that cold, Service really plays up these images of warmth).
  • Then our speaker makes a hole in the coals and just jams his friend’s body right in there.

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