Neutral Tones

It's an odd thing, explaining how dark and depressing and pessimistic and angry-at-a-nonexistent-God much of Thomas Hardy's writings are--and then adding that he's one of my favorite poets. Perhaps I shouldn't do that in a Christian school. But I do love Hardy. I would love to someday travel the Hardy Trail in Dorset, Hardy's "Wessex"; in fact, when I was at Oxford one summer in college, I made a special pilgrimage to the land of Hardy.

Still, he has one dark outlook on life. Whew.


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 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.

P.S. Can someone tell me how to make indents in a blog post? They never come through on the blog.


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