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

  • Perkin.Estelle (2/13/2020 11:05:00 AM)

    3693 N Clay Way(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Yodelee (2/8/2020 5:34:00 AM)

    That's so not a fan since I got to see the new version is better to be the first half of the day before I get a follow back please.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Spock The VeganSpock The Vegan (7/31/2019 10:46:00 PM)

    It leaves you wondering. That has appeal.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Mollie (7/28/2019 4:57:00 AM)

    I like this poem because I learned about it when I was in year 5 but now I'm going up a stage to year 6 so hopefully I learn more about it i really like the suspense it builds up in the poem and I want to hear a person reading it and not a robot reading it(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Yogesh (7/10/2019 6:25:00 AM)

    It was very nice(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Talia (6/10/2019 7:10:00 PM)

    This was very helpful(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Brent (5/25/2019 9:38:00 PM)

    This was my favorite poem as a kid in elementary school. It spoke to me about character and personal integrity.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Hayley (3/1/2019 12:01:00 PM)


    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Scarlet (2/15/2019 4:01:00 PM)

    This has such a deep meaning that you can relate to mysteries of life.Supernatural and mysterious(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • sd surajit das (10/28/2018 8:46:00 PM)

    Add a comment.good(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • E. Lillie (10/18/2018 2:44:00 PM)

    I like this poem because I feel it gives a great and vivid description of the scenery, but still leaves you questioning(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Mr Mysterious (10/12/2018 7:29:00 AM)

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

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Jacqui nicol (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

    3 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Robert Murray SmithRobert Murray Smith (7/9/2018 6:49:00 AM)

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

    3 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • megis (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 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • kathy (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

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

    My favourite poem. So mysterious but lovely

    4 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Pavithra (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

    4 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Rhiannon (3/18/2018 1:54:00 PM)

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

    4 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Rishit Shah (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

    3 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • dung lover (2/4/2018 5:52:00 AM)

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

    4 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
Read all 69 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

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

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003