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The Passing of the Year

The Passing of the Year


by Robert Service

The Passing of the Year Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

And wait to feel the old year go. (line 4)

This is kind of a cool idea.  We like the thought of a guy sitting in his room, waiting to feel something like the changing of the year.  If you really paid attention, do you think you could feel a thing like that?  Maybe this poem is designed to get you close to that, to zero you in on a moment, to heighten your senses so that you can feel the passage of time.

Quote #2

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time (line 9)

See how this whole "life is a theater" idea works?  Service is going to make sure you do, because he's about to go nuts with this metaphor.  Still, let's take a second and think about how it fits together.  In this line, he's comparing time to a stage where the action of life happens.  Time is the platform, the base for everything.  We actually think it matters a lot that the speaker uses the word "time" here.  He could have said the "Stage of Life" or something like that, but what he really wants us to focus on it the feeling of time rolling by us.

Quote #3

A moment, and the prompter's chime
     Will ring the curtain down on you. (lines 11-12)

"Moment" is another important time word.  We're just a moment away from the end of the year – in an instant it will disappear forever.  Still, what the poet can do is freeze that moment, stretch it out for as long as he wants.  He basically stops time. In saving this stretched-out moment in time, he prevents it from getting swept away.  It's actually one of the neat super-powers of poetry, this ability to play with time.  OK, so we don't think Poetry-Man is going to be the next big Marvel Comics franchise, although if they go that way, we've got some ideas for costumes…

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