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Friday, October 30, 2009

The Listeners

Reading Lady Tammy's splendid blog of 28th October, it struck me that the talk of William Jones not being the only apparition at the Inn, and that a little girl had also been mentioned, plus a strange figures in the windows, it all reminded me of one of my favourite poems The Listeners, by Walter de la Mare, and seeing as it is Halloween weekend I am pleased to be able to bring this fine piece of thought to you, and hope it haunts you as much as it has me, over the years

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.

Sir Dayvd ( the Traveller who came ) of Oxfordshire


  1. "Though every word he spake
    Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house"

    Wish I had written that.

    I also wish I had written:

    If I were a ghost, I’d dress up as a kid on Halloween so I could scare everybody with my frighteningly obsessive need for irony.
    -- Jack Handy

  2. Wonderfully creepy! Thanks for sharing this!

    I never pimp here, but since it's Halloween and all, check out my family's costumes (if you like)

    We were sort of proud of our ideas...

    Walter de la Mare and Jack Handey referenced in the same place - is it any wonder I love this blog?

    Lady T (who will be looking over her shoulder for the next couple nights) of P-town

  3. 7 years ago this evening I was lying in bed having all my body hair shaved in preparation for a Halloween Day Open Heart Surgery.

    Now that's SCARY!

    SIr Hook the Halloween Bleeding Heart of Warrick