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What's the meaning of "swing past" here?


I had less and less control over my own history each day. I suppose I could have made some kind of effort. It should have been easy to trace: this happened, I was here, that happened next, all of which led inevitably to the present moment. I could have picked up a handful of dirt from the street outside, some wax from a candle on the altarpiece, ash from the incense as it swung past. I could have wrung it out, hoping I might find an essential thing that would give meaning to this place or that time. I did not.
What's the meaning of "swing past" in "ash from the incense as it swung past."? Does it mean the incense burned to ash?

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    In church services, the incense is often in some kind of item that swings so that way the priest can spread the smoke, so that's what the meaning is- the incense is in a device that is literally swung by (moving back and forth) by the priest or whomever is swinging it.

    A thurible is an ornamental metal container used to burn incense during Catholic worship services. It is suspended from chains and tends to swing.


    This one is tough. However, this character is certainly in a church. In Catholic church ceremonies (and many others I'm sure), it is common for a priest to walk down the aisle swinging a container of burning incense back and forth.

    So I think 'swing past' is a combination of a priest 'walking past' the writer while the incense is swinging.

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