Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CONTRETEMPS, by GRACE STONE COATES



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CONTRETEMPS, by            
First Line: They hoped to face a new, exultant sun
Last Line: Might lift his foot, and shake his sandal free.


They hoped to face a new, exultant sun
Upon a summit few had strength to climb.
They mounted bravely, if absurdly -- one
Beside the other, lost to sense of time.
Bewilderingly, the sun was past his prime
When they arrived. Clouds counselled their return
From slide rock more uncertain than sublime.
They felt elation flatten to concern.

Each was a pebble in the other's shoe
From that swift climbing, and the slurred descent
Through gravel. Each uncomfortably knew
He was but waiting till the other went,
That, with embarrassment to neither, he
Might lift his foot, and shake his sandal free.





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