Hardy, Thomas. "Neutral Tones".
- set in a bleak and barren winter landscape with a pond, "white sun", and grey leaves
- the sterile setting = the end of the relationship by meaningless phrases, feelings of bitterness, and expressionless faces ("the smile on your mouth was the deadest thing")
- later: associates the scene of the ending relationship with a larger and more general sense of loss in his life
- formally the speaker addresses his former lover x but: actually she is absent, the speaker so pronounces a soliloquy
- enacts the "neutrality" of the title in an overtly negative way, projects sterility both in the colourless setting and the lifeless characters
- suggests that human beings are made to life in fruitful relationships with other people, otherwise they remain both psychically and physically sterile
AuthorHardy, Thomas. (1840 – 1928).
Full Title"Neutral Tones".
Hardy, Thomas. "Neutral Tones". Collected Poems. Ware: Wordsworth, 2006.