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Thomas Hardy

(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)

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A Meeting With Despair


AS evening shaped I found me on a moor
Which sight could scarce sustain:
The black lean land, of featureless contour,
Was like a tract in pain.

"This scene, like my own life," I said, "is one
Where many glooms abide;
Toned by its fortune to a deadly dun--
Lightless on every side.

I glanced aloft and halted, pleasure-caught
To see the contrast there:
The ray-lit clouds gleamed glory; and I thought,
"There's solace everywhere!"

Then bitter self-reproaches as I stood
I dealt me silently
As one perverse--misrepresenting Good
In graceless mutiny.

Against the horizon's dim-descernèd wheel
A form rose, strange of mould:
That he was hideous, hopeless, I could feel
Rather than could behold.

"'Tis a dead spot, where even the light lies spent
To darkness!" croaked the Thing.
"Not if you look aloft!" said I, intent
On my new reasoning.

"Yea--but await awhile!" he cried. "Ho-ho!--
Look now aloft and see!"
I looked. There, too, sat night: Heaven's radiant show
Had gone. Then chuckled he.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Comments about this poem (A Meeting With Despair by Thomas Hardy )

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  • Paul Brookes (7/5/2012 3:36:00 AM)

    Chillingly eerie and atmospheric. Great description of despair and hopelessness. Yet is there redemption and hope? This the poet leaves us to decide. (Report) Reply

  • Jerônimo Enriquez João II (7/5/2010 9:26:00 AM)

    Really awesome piece of work... I recommend to read all the works by Thomas Hardy to be read will the same passion that we show for William Shakesphere and William Wordsworth and any other poet of the Classics, then only we will be able to know the real depth of the thought of this poet. (Report) Reply

  • Manonton Dalan (7/5/2010 6:06:00 AM)

    dull moment glimmer of hope
    soon darkness also absorb
    why happiness last in seconds
    to make us strive more...guess (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (7/5/2010 2:02:00 AM)

    A poem built on pensive mood has no chance of redemption in anyway has been well weaved here! (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (7/5/2009 9:05:00 AM)

    And just what is Hardy's best effort - his most 'fragrant' piece? Some of the comments border on the utterly absurd, but let's leave that for another day!

    Identify the figures of speech first of all! Is PERSONIFICATION one of Hardy's figures? You agree that DESPAIR is an abstraction, a human condition that afflicts the SPEAKER, who is not necessarily the poet himself, sometimes called a PERSONA for the sake of analysis? What is the overall MOOD? What devices does Hardy use to invoke that MOOD? Answer these questions before you jump to conclusions, which may be correct or not, but a discerning reader on a site allegedly devoted to poetry must make such distinctions, do you not agree? (Report) Reply

  • Linda Hepner (7/5/2005 10:35:00 PM)

    It has reminders of The Raven. Despair is so much more horrible if the Creator is treating it a joke. (Report) Reply

Read all 11 comments »

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