Thomas Hardy, Neutral Tones

This is an interesting poem of nature because, as the title points out, it is dominated by neutral tones. Unlike other poems about nature, this one does not focus on bright colors or scenery to evoke beautiful images. Nature is of course a metaphor for love. However, love in this case is not excessive or highly stimulating but rather a long term and pervasive. For example, “your eyes on me whereas eyes that rove/Over tedious riddles solved years ago.” Hardy also mentions smiles, ones that are “alive enough to have strength to die,” further indicating a love that is well aged.

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