Well, maybe this seems a little obvious for a poem about New Year's, but we just had to get it in here. Without the idea of the passing of time and the feelings that go along with it, this poem just couldn't exist. "The Passing of the Year" is all about change, what it feels like to go from one moment to the other. Time is always flowing past us, but New Year's is one moment where we can pause and think about it. Yes, we know – deep thoughts.
"The Passing of the Year" compresses all the emotion of a year into a single moment. In doing so, it allows us to feel many complex, contradictory feelings at the same time.
Service uses his poem to expand a fleeting thought about the end of the year. His epic metaphor gives that brief idea lasting, substantial power.