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
.Thomas Hardy

The Poem Neutral Tones by Hardy, written 144 years ago, has been subject to a number of interpretations, but most agree that it talks about the end of a relationship…
The story begins and ends in the same place….it is a passionate poem, full of regret…. “tedious riddles solved years ago” tells us this is no recent friendship, but possibly a long standing affair filled with bitter exchanges…possibly this is Eliza Nicholls, from whom he had been estranged, then met again much later…
Sorrowful regret and reminiscence resound throughout the poem, but yet we can’t mistake the fact that these two love each other…the dead smile on her face is a heart wrenching oxymoron…they both know that this is the end
..

Hardy is such a marvellous story teller that in reading this work we all feel his pain…I can clearly see them facing each other across the pond on that bleak winters day…..’course I made the pond a little prettier….Watercolour on Arches Paper

See the Hardy Collection by clicking the link on the right…

I paint in many different styles and feature a myriad of subject matter, which I show as individual collections….
I am inspired by the world interpreting it in brilliant colours, often influenced by the writings of famous authors and poets..
© All rights reserved. All images contained on these pages are © copyright protected by Janis Zroback and any use of these images in any form without her written permission will be considered an infringement of these copyrights.

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Comments

  • Tricia Winwood
    Tricia Winwoodover 2 years ago

    This is lovely Janis, and an instant fave for me x

  • Thank you so much Tricia…I’m really happy you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelover 2 years ago

    Beautiful, great effects.

  • Thanks so much Cindy….so many elements together was a challenge, water, ice, snow, light, etc. etc..but I’m pleased with the results….

    – © Janis Zroback

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 2 years ago

    GREAT ON THE REFLECTIONS A BEATY WELL DONE JANIS lIZ

  • Thank you so much Liz…really nice of you

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Jim Phillips
    Jim Phillipsover 2 years ago

    You got that icy shine on that pond just perfect. Nice work Janis.

  • Thank you so much Jim…very nice of you to say so…ice is challenging work.. :))

    – © Janis Zroback

  • © Linda Callaghan
    © Linda Callaghanover 2 years ago

    a lovely painting Janis filled with light, darks, textures and atmosphere……and coupled with the poem takes our imaginations into the past…

  • Thank you so much Linda…it could be anyone at any time…the emotion is timeless…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Eddy Aigbe
    Eddy Aigbeover 2 years ago

    This is exquisite Janis. I love the texture so much… fave :)

  • Thank you so much Edy…I’m thrilled that you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Marlies Odehnal
    Marlies Odehnalover 2 years ago

    Phantastic painting!

  • Thank you so much Marlies…really nice of you

    – © Janis Zroback

  • GEORGE SANDERSON
    GEORGE SANDERSONover 2 years ago

    Lovely, excellent reflections !!!

  • Thank you so much George…very nice of you

    – © Janis Zroback

  • walela
    walelaover 2 years ago

    Wonderful! Painting and Hardy’s poem. Fits so well together. Thomas Hardy is one of my favorite authors.

  • I’m so glad…I love his work too…thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • JUSTART
    JUSTARTover 2 years ago

    beautiful work

  • Thank you so much…really nice of you…

    – © Janis Zroback

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