Walter de la Mare

(1873 - 1958 / Kent / England)

The Listeners - Poem 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 grass
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Comments about The Listeners by Walter de la Mare

  • Lazy Dabbler (10/27/2007 8:24:00 PM)

    To each their own, but I am a little disappointed that this gem is not rated much much higher. I bet every one ends up reading it more than once.. for it forces you to imagine the atmosphere and the mystery.. and make your own interpretations.

    Here's a tribute from T.S Eliot to De la Mare and the mystery of the nocturnal traveller...

    http: //

    .......... ........
    .......... ........

    When the nocturnal traveller can arouse
    No sleeper by his call; or when by chance
    An empty face peers from an empty house;

    By whom, and by what means, was this designed?
    The whispered incantation which allows
    Free passage to the phantoms of the mind?

    By you; by those deceptive cadences
    Wherewith the common measure is refined;
    By conscious art practised with natural ease;

    By the delicate, invisible web you wove -
    The inexplicable mystery of sound. (Report) Reply

    56 person liked.
    33 person did not like.
  • Michelle Garner (6/17/2007 4:56:00 AM)

    Learned this one at school as a child, could still remember it - years later, that must be the sign of an excellent poem! ! One of my favourites (Report) Reply

  • Bryan Scott (5/28/2007 10:38:00 PM)

    This poem is one of my favorite poems of all time. It evokes such intense feelings of purpose denied but ultimately vindicated. A masterpiece! (Report) Reply

  • Brian Dorn Brian Dorn (8/20/2006 2:44:00 PM)

    A brilliantly stunning depiction of fruitless effort... been there, done that (minus the horse of course) . (Report) Reply

  • John Motherway (3/1/2006 8:24:00 AM)

    I asked my children to draw a picture of the poem once I had read it to them.The different images drawn by the kids just amazed me and illustrated to me the wonderful diverse interpretations that can come from this brilliant story.However
    I read it myself in school in the eary seventys and nothing has changed in the imagery my kids see and that which I still vividly remember every time I read this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Alan Robinson (2/28/2006 1:55:00 PM)

    I first heard this poem read to the class by my primary school headmaster.
    It remains to me the most wonderful and mysterious poem I have ever encountered. (Report) Reply

  • John McPartlan (6/10/2004 1:33:00 PM)

    Mr. de la Mare's poem transports me to a world that can no longer be reached, even in this somewhat rural country. The mechanisation and computerisation (!) of our world mentally and physically distances us from the pure imagery created by de la Mare. As his horse moves, do we not inwardly remember and ache for how it must have been for human, animal and forest to blend together into a natural harmony? The lonely Traveller of the poem has kept his word, some solemn promise we can only speculate on. The values of a distant and rapidly forgotten world melt into the forest as the silence surges softly backwards over the forest- house of the reticent listeners. Mr. de la Mare smotes upon our primal roots in the gentlest of fashions. (Report) Reply

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