Wednesday, 4 January 2012

My Fav Poem - The Listeners - Walter De La Mare

This is a random post, because I just followed a blog called, The Moonlit Door and the name struck a chord with me and the second line of my most favourite poem ever, The Listeners, by Walter De La Mare. I first read this in 2nd Form English at school and its atmosphere hooked me from the very first line.

I find it a haunting poem and I see in my mind a crumbling, castellated house surrounded by tall, overbearing branches. That atmosphere inspired the tower on the Blackwood Estate in The Haward Mysteries.

My favourite line is the second to last: And how the silence surged softly backward, it just shows how much can be evoked by so few words. OO, it gives me goosebumps :).

Anyway, I've included the poem here, care of Poetry Online. I hope you love it too.

The Listeners
by Walter De La Mare

'Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
'Is there anybody there?' he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:-
'Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,' he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.


  1. Yes! That's why I gave my blog that name, as this is my very favourite poem. It could mean so many things, it evokes so much. It's beautiful and terrifying. I adore it. Great post!

  2. Cool! Great Minds 'n' all that! I've signed up to your blog, so I look forward to your posts :).


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