Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy

We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod;
– They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles of years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro
On which lost the more by our love.

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing….

Since then, keen lessons that love deceives,
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God curst sun, and a tree,
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

Thomas Hardy
1840-1928

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About russellboyle.com

Russell Boyle, of russellboyle.com, is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. Russell is the author of a number of teaching resources, including the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Russell's poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness.
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10 Responses to Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy

  1. Jackie says:

    Beautiful and poignant.

  2. cindy knoke says:

    Melancholy but lovely~

  3. Tom Gething says:

    One of my all-time favorite poems by one of my all-time favorite poets. Perfect for our northern autumn. Thanks!

  4. Aquileana says:

    Beautiful poem Russell… “Far from the Madding Crowd” is certainly an outstanding book. And Hardy was also a great poet!!!..
    Thanks for sharing !!!.
    Cheers, Aquileana 😉

    https://twitter.com/russellboyle/status/393466523785777152

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