Poetry Forum Areas

Introduce Yourself

New to PoetrySoup? Introduce yourself here. Tell us something about yourself.

Looking for a Poem

Can't find a poem you've read before? Looking for a poem for a special person or an occasion? Ask other member for help.

Writing Poetry

Ways to improve your poetry. Post your techniques, tips, and creative ideas how to write better.

High Critique

For poets who want unrestricted constructive criticism. This is NOT a vanity workshop. If you do not want your poem seriously critiqued, do not post here. Constructive criticism only. PLEASE Only Post One Poem a Day!!!

How do I...?

Ask PoetrySoup Members how to do something or find something on PoetrySoup.

The Contretemps

 A forward rush by the lamp in the gloom,
And we clasped, and almost kissed;
But she was not the woman whom
I had promised to meet in the thawing brume
On that harbour-bridge; nor was I he of her tryst.
So loosening from me swift she said: "O why, why feign to be The one I had meant - to whom I have sped To fly with, being so sorrily wed," 'Twas thus and thus that she upbraided me.
My assignation had struck upon Some others' like it, I found.
And her lover rose on the night anon; And then her husband entered on The lamplit, snowflaked, sloppiness around.
"Take her and welcome, man!" he cried: "I wash my hands of her.
I'll find me twice as good a bride!" - All this to me, whom he had eyed, Plainly, as his wife's planned deliverer.
And next the lover: "Little I knew, Madam, you had a third! Kissing here in my very view!" - Husband and lover then withdrew.
I let them; and I told them not they erred.
Why not? Well, there faced she and I - Two strangers who'd kissed, or near, Chancewise.
To see stand weeping by A woman once embraced, will try The tension of a man the most austere.
So it began; and I was young, She pretty, by the lamp, As flakes came waltzing down among The waves of her clinging hair, that hung Heavily on her temples, dark and damp.
And there alone still stood we two; She once cast off for me, Or so it seemed: while night ondrew, Forcing a parley what should do We twain hearts caught in one catastrophe.
In stranded souls a common strait Wakes latencies unknown, Whose impulse may precipitate A life-long leap.
The hour was late, And there was the Jersey boat with its funnel agroan.
"Is wary walking worth much pother?" It grunted, as still it stayed.
"One pairing is as good as another Where is all venture! Take each other, And scrap the oaths that you have aforetime made.
" - Of the four involved there walks but one On earth at this late day.
And what of the chapter so begun? In that odd complex what was done? Well; happiness comes in full to none: Let peace lie on lulled lips: I will not say.

Poem by
Biography | Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes | Email Poem - The ContretempsEmail Poem | Create an image from this poem

Poems are below...

Top Thomas Hardy Poems

Analysis and Comments on The Contretemps

Provide your analysis, explanation, meaning, interpretation, and comments on the poem The Contretemps here.