Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
- All of a sudden, we're whisked back into that quiet room from the beginning of the poem. Remember that, with the pipe and the glass? Well, we're there again, but our speaker has finished his drink and his pipe has burned out.
- These are symbols of ending too, just like that curtain coming down. As the poem comes to a close, the action winds down too, giving a nice smooth, calm finish to the whole thing.
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
- Oh, but wait!
- Just when you thought he was winding down, the speaker stops us again. Clearly our speaker is having some trouble turning the page, and has something more to say before he starts the new year.
Old Year! a parting word that's true,
For we've been comrades, you and I --
- Now he lightens the tone a little and wants to let the Old Year know that they're still buddies ("we've been comrades").
- He wants to say something to the Old Year before he leaves for good, and maybe make up for all that grim stuff about staring eyes and crying.
I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!
- It turns out that our speaker is glad for "each day" of the past year. He even gives him his blessing and says a friendly, cheerful goodbye to him.
- As endings go, it's maybe a little sappy, but that's the kind of guy Service was. He understood that there was pain in the world, but tended to look on the bright side too. He can take you through the hard stuff, but he tends to leave you with a smile.
- In this case, Service pulls us out of some kind of strange, dark material, but also leaves us with a happy New Year's message.