The Passing of the Year – A Poem with an MP3 Recording

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The Passing of the Year was written by Robert W. Service (1874 – 1958).  It’s about the last minutes before the New Year starts, yet it still feels pertinent at the beginning of the New Year.  Below you can hear it recited and read along with the poem.

MP3 of The Passing of the Year

The Passing of the Year

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
And wait to FEEL the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter’s chime
Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
Let us all read, whate’er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope?  O Optimist!
What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough!  Oh, ring the curtain down!
Old weary year! it’s time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that’s true,
For we’ve been comrades, you and I —
I THANK GOD FOR EACH DAY OF YOU;
There! bless you now!  Old Year, good-bye!

Read by Chris Caron

Happy New Year!  May you make the most of every day!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2012 at 7:23 pm and is filed under English, Holidays Around the World, Languages, New Years, New Years Poems, Poetry, Recordings, Recordings of Poems. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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