‘Neutral Tones’ by Thomas Hardy

‘Neutral Tones’

by Thomas HardyDSCF9120

“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 was born on this day in 1840, you can read more of his work through Surrey Libraries.

Want more? Take a look at our Words in Focus book, full of great work by Surrey Poets.

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