by: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
- E 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 solved 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.
POEMS BY THOMAS HARDY
"Neutral Tones" is reprinted
from Wessex Poems and Other Verses. Thomas Hardy. New
York: Harper, 1898.