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
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.


Comments about The Listeners by Walter de la Mare

  • (10/12/2018 7:29:00 AM)


    My great great great parent wrote this poem! ! (Report) Reply

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  • (7/29/2018 10:35:00 AM)


    Wonderful atmospheric poem. You can just imagine the scene. Do we really know if anyone WAS listening? The imagination goes wild. And who had he promised? Will it always be a mystery? It raises so many questions. The best thing is just to enjoy. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (7/9/2018 6:49:00 AM)


    A classic write that we can all learn from. (Report) Reply

  • (6/13/2018 6:29:00 AM)


    tell them I came and no one answered. That I kept my word he said.
    What does this mean please?
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/27/2018 7:43:00 PM)


    One of my favorites. When I was going through a really bad time I used to read this aloud at night all alone. It gave me power (Report) Reply

    (6/4/2018 5:28:00 PM)

    My favourite poem. So mysterious but lovely

  • (4/6/2018 3:43:00 AM)


    I got a work to offer any poem of Walter de la mare in the assembly and this was the best (Report) Reply

  • (3/18/2018 1:54:00 PM)


    I would prefer to hear it read by a person than a robot. (Report) Reply

  • (2/14/2018 4:20:00 AM)


    It was my 10 marks assignment for the school . But this site made my 10 marks easy (Report) Reply

  • (2/4/2018 5:52:00 AM)


    poo poo poo poo poo poo poo v v poo poo poo poo poopoo poo (Report) Reply

  • (1/31/2018 3:50:00 AM)


    I got a activity for school to bring this poem and present it in class so thanks for your help . (Report) Reply

  • (1/31/2018 2:38:00 AM)


    I got an activity from my school to collect the poems of Walter de la Mare I loved this poem (Report) Reply

  • (1/30/2018 11:27:00 AM)


    my favourite poem of all.
    the flow and the atmosphere are superb.
    heard it first as a child and still, every time i read it, it enthuses me
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/25/2018 1:29:00 PM)


    I always loved this poem it fascinates me . (Report) Reply

  • (1/22/2018 9:18:00 PM)


    Who were the listeners (Report) Reply

  • (1/15/2018 8:25:00 AM)


    This amazing poem by Walter de la Mare is just the best... (Report) Reply

  • (1/1/2018 5:40:00 AM)


    I have carried the first few lines of this poem in my head since fists year of secondary schoo. (Report) Reply

  • (1/1/2018 5:36:00 AM)


    I have carried the first few lines of this poem in my head from the age of 12. It was read to the class in the first year of secondary school by a teacher named Mrs Falconer, we was asked to memorise as much as we could of the poems within 20 minutes, The few lines was all I could memorise, (Report) Reply

  • (12/1/2017 10:46:00 AM)


    My late mum would read this poem to me as a child. I grew up loving ghost stories. I am thrilled to read this again. Xoxo (Report) Reply

  • (11/28/2017 1:27:00 AM)


    Thank u this helped a lot (Report) Reply

  • (11/19/2017 9:48:00 PM)


    Very interesting poem (Report) Reply

Read all 56 comments »

# 77 poem on top 500 Poems

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Read poems about / on: horse, silence, house, dark, lonely, sky, world, star



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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