Famous Narrative Poem

Walter de la Mare (1873-1956), an English poet and short story writer, enjoyed writing ghost stories. “The Listeners” has a mysterious and eerie feel to it. It was published in 1912 in the poet’s second collection of poetry. A traveler knocks on the door of a house, but no one comes to the door. However, he can sense phantoms inside who listen to him. There is a sense of loneliness depicted in this poem.

Featured Shared Story

No Stories yet, You can be the first!

Share your story! (0)

The Listeners

By

‘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.

Advertisement

  • Stories 0
  • Shares 1432
  • Favorited 6
  • Votes 104
  • Rating 4.16

Back to Top