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The Passing of the Year

The Passing of the Year

by Robert Service

Appearances Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

That makes your smile so gay and glad? (line 28)

This is a different kind of appearance, a happy face at last.  Still, notice that we don't get past the front door – we are left to guess and judge based on the face and the clothes alone.  We've said this before, but it's worth repeating.  This poem is all about faces, about staring at them intently and trying to decipher them, even though they seem kind of mysterious and strange.

Quote #5

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
     What find you in that filmy gaze? (lines 33-4)

This one's pretty intense, isn't it?  We thought it was worth pointing out the kind of back-and-forth mirror action that's going on here.  The speaker is looking at these people, trying to guess things based on their appearances, while they are looking at the face of the Old Year, trying to "find" something in his "filmy gaze."  See why we think this poem is a little strange and mysterious?  Service is a pretty down to earth guy for the most part.  In this case, though, all this confusing, tantalizing stuff about appearances makes him seem like he's got some kind of secret, which is sort of fun.

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