Introduction to English Literature
Name: Sophie Ko
Topic: Neutral Tones
This is the kind of poetry that gives readers no particularly strong feeling while first time reading it, but when you go through it again and again, you'll realize how sad it is actually and how much grief is covered under that extremely neutral intonation with those ordinary words.
The forms of these four paragraphs look all the same, and even the rhymes are placed in one regular way, such as the first rhymes with the forth, and the second rhymes with the third. These sorts of arrangements give us a dull, calm, and mechanical atmosphere, as if everything is completely neutral in his world because this may be the only way to keep himself from sadness. Instead of exposing the speaker's own feeling directly, plenty of visual discriminations are used in this poem to show the bitterness and grief inside him.
For example, the use of "winter day" shows that their dying love is fading away just like how every creature ceases it's activity, and that his frozen heart will no longer keep on beating for his love. And about "starving sod", it also represents a lifeless deadly sense, because a good-cared sod is supposed to be rather green and fresh. Furthermore, the color of gray has always been a symbol of sadness, and here it is even used to describe leaves! From here, we can imagine a picture of his memory that has nothing colorful but gray and that is how he feels right now. The parts of the sun chidden by God and the God-curst sun are the ones that surprise me most. The sun offers every life's need, and gives warmth to all places. It is supposed to be praised not chidden, and to be blessed not curst. From this point, the speaker's enormous anger and hatred is totally revealed.
As to my favorite portion of the poem is "The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing, alive enough to have strength to die." What I love about it is the irony between "smile" and "die". A short sentence as it is, all the evilest lies are told in it.