The poem talks about the speaker`s sorrow memory between himself and his past lover . No matter who read this poem can feel the sad atmosphere from the words " winter " , " gray " , " chidden ", " deadest " ......The " tones " of the heading is a pun and includes two meanings . One is the " tone " and another is the " color " . The heading of the poem - - Neutral Tones shows :
(1) the tone is calm , we feel no great vibration of emotion . The speaker just told about a past thing ; however , such a tone let us feel more easily about that deep sadness hided within the speaker`s heart .
(2) the color is gray , no matter it is scene or the frame of mind all covered with a veil of hush . Gray is a color between black and white , so the speaker did not speak in hate nor love .
From the word " winter " and the sentence " They ( leaves) had fallen from an ash , and were gray." , it is not difficult for us to understand the speaker`s mind like the season winter and every hope like the leaves fell down the sod and turned into gray ." chidden of God " let me felt even the God did not give his blessing to them .
Whole poem does not tell us how they parted , but it seems that they two all feel something wrong with their feeling to each other and they also have no energy to argue ." Your eyes on me as eyes thaat rove ~~~On which lost the more by our love ." , "The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing ~~~Like an ominous bird a-wing ." From the second and third stanza , we know that the girl did not have love as strong as past to her boyfriend . Of course , the speaker knew that , they still pretended they love each other as usually , but doing so , the more their love was losing .
The fourth stanza end with " And a pond edged with grayish leaves ." . The speaker created a kind of imegery , he let every thing he refered above covered a layer of gray leaves . And I moved by such a low tone . The speaker`s regret in his heart just as the ripple of the leaves falling the pond extending every coner of the pond .