Robert Service wrote poems for people everywhere to love, memorize, treasure, and pass onto their kids. This isn't poetry to twist your brain into knots or to write a long, dry book about. This is meant to be living poetry, full of adventure, honest feelings, and the kind of experiences anyone could relate to. Service uses some poetic tricks, and he loves language, but he doesn't pack his poems with dense philosophy or long words. The rhyme and rhythm tend to be regular, and the mood is pretty upbeat. Well, maybe not in "The Passing of the Year."
Once a poet (or anyone) gets a certain reputation, it can be easy to keep them in that box. That's why it's important to keep an eye out for changes and surprises. For instance, we think a lot of this poem is kind of dark and spooky. It's not exactly Edgar Allan Poe spooky, but still enough to make our spines tingle. Coming from friendly old Robert Service, that's kind of a nice surprise.