Analysis of Thomas Hardy’s Neutral Tones

Neutral Tones

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.


Life, no matter what form it takes, if one has the eyes to appreciate it, is an excellent poem. This is what Thomas Hardy helps one glimpse in both his prose and poetry. But my favorite thing about Hardy is his insistence on portraying the beauty of pain in several of its nuances, as a never ending cycle: be it through the suff…

Photography: Scarves to Carve October

in wraps of   wisdom-hued leaves––surrendering in tittering bantering chills.  --- JAO

Translating Jacques Prévert: Choses et autres––Intro

Having tried and failed in the past, owing mostly to poor self-discipline, I keep a foot with those who say it is not easy to learn a new language on your own. But having also persisted through to make a  considerable progress in picking up a foreign language, my other foot is with those who say it is not impossible to learn a language on your own because there are several fun ways to do so these days. For it is because of these fun avenues that I have been able to take my French lessons seriously for over a year now. Through language learning apps like Duolingo, YouTube videos like Comme Une Française TV and Learn French with Alexa; watching French movies and listening to French music as well as following the exercises in a used copy of French: A Self-Teaching Guide, I have been making good progress in understanding how to speak, write and read in French. And now I want to try another method to help advance my literacy: I will be translating here on the blog some poems by the surrea…

Steeping: Intro

One of my favorite things to do these days is to watch water boil: watch steam curl and wind out of hot water. I like to listen to the drum-like roar of fired-up water. I also like coming up with new blends of tea to entertain my moods, waiting as my tea steeps, trying the first cup then comparing it to the second cup and testing my awareness through the third cup.

Also, these days, I am not very collected. A series of significant happenings have left me somewhat disoriented. And it is making it quite challenging to string sentences together, so I prefer to avoid writing paragraphs.

But this blog is one of the things I love to do for fun and it doesn't feel good to put it off for long so I have been thinking that I ought to start making tea here too.  In fact, I recently went to a reading on gastrodiplomacy––because I didn't know what it was and the event was free and I had just altered an old skirt into a fun new dress and wanted to wear it somewhere––and it convinced me tha…

Between the Pages of Letters to A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke X

"Art too is just a way of living, and however one lives, one can, without knowing, prepare for it; in everything real one is closer to it, more its neighbor, than in the unreal half-artistic professions, which, while they pretend to be close to art, in practice deny and attack the existence of all art––as, for example, all of journalism does and almost all criticism and three quarters of what is called (and wants to be called) literature" (Rainer Maria Rilke. Letters to a Young Poet. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. NY: Modern Library, 2001, p. 108).

In Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch––which I am yet to read––Henry Miller writes “whoever uses the spirit that is in him creatively is an artist. To make living itself an art, that is the goal.” Miller’s words are somewhat similar to the last advice, quoted above, in the last letter Rilke offers Kappus, in Letters to a Young Poet. To bring the Between the Pages of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet series to a close, I will her…