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April is ,,,,

National Poetry Month

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

-- Gelett Burgess

I have no idea why this has been my favorite poem for most of my life, but it is. I've always had a thing for funny or offbeat poetry.

Birdie birdie in the sky
Why'd you do that in my eye?

Like I said.

I considered myself somewhat of a poet in high school, much like every teenage girl before and after me.

I'll probably be revisiting this theme throughout the month, as I consider myself a patron of the art of poetry in that I've had many poetry contests right here, even if they were along the lines Helen Thomas limericks or odes to oral sex.

I do like "real" poetry as well (as opposed to juvenile humor aimed at children who like fart jokes). One of my favorite poems is below. What's yours?

Annabel Lee
Edgar Allen Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in Heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the side of the sea.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference April is ,,,,:

» April is national poetry month... from Maladjusted - Fair and Balanced
As Michele said, April is National Poetry Month! Everybody thinks themselves a poet at one point or another. I know I've gone through that phase, and in some ways I still am. I doodle poems in my notebook, but they're shit. Unlike most people, I ... [Read More]

» Bovine intervention from dustbury.com
Michele recalls Gelett Burgess: I never saw a Purple Cow, I never hope to see one; But I can tell you, anyhow, I'd rather see than be one. Which reminded... [Read More]

» It's National Poetry Month from Running at the Mouth
April is National Poetry Month. [Read More]


Robert Frost

My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’d glad the birds have gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

if I'm in a good mood:
They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
they may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had,
and add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn,
by fools, in old style hats and coats,
who half the time were sorry stern,
and half at one anothers' throats.

Man hands on misery to man,
it broadens like a coastal shelf.
So get out as quickly as you can,
and don't have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin

If I'm in a better mood:

Footnote to Howl

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy!
The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand
and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody's holy! everywhere is
holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman's an
The bum's as holy as the seraphim! the madman is
holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is
holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy
Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cas-
sady holy the unknown buggered and suffering
beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks
of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop
apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana
hipsters peace & junk & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy
the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the
mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the
middle class! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebell-
ion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria &
Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow
Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the
clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy
the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the
locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucina-
tions holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours!
bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent
kindness of the soul!

Allen Ginsberg

Birdie birdie in the sky
Why'd you do that in my eye?

I'm no baby. I won't cry.
I'm just glad cows don't fly.

I'm no baby. I won't cry.
I'm just glad cows don't fly.

I knew there was another line to that!


what does not
kill us

maims us

and makes us

if god

must be

his echo
in this world

Joe Ivory Mattingly

More here

From Asphodel: That Greeny Flower
It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

W.C. Williams

wow, Michele, you are on a literary roll this weekend! Interestingly, I got away from the 'puter last night, cranked up the stereo and pulled out my Norton Anthology of English Lit to puruse some of my favorite poetry. My fave is Matthew Arnold's The Buried Life -- too long to post in its entirety, but here's an excerpt:
But often, in the world's most crowded streets, But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us - to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.
And many a man in his own breast then delves,
But deep enough, alas! none ever mines.
And we have been on many thousand lines,
And we have shown, on each, spirit and power;
But hardly have we, for one little hour,
Been on our own line, have we been ourselves--
Hardly had skill to utter one of all
The nameless feelings that course through our breast,
But they course on for ever unexpressed.
And long we try in vain to speak and act
Our hidden self, and what we say and do
Is eloquent, is well - but 'tis not true!
And then we will no more be racked
With inward striving, and demand
Of all the thousand nothings of the hour
Their stupefying power;
Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call!
Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn,
From the soul's subterranean depth upborne
As from an infinitely distant land,
Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey
A melancholy into all our day.
And I decided to mark John Paul II's passing with just these three lines by D.H. Lawrence:
O let us talk of quiet that we know, that we can know, the deep and lovely quiet
of a strong heart at peace!
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

Ever since, Gelett Burgess rued that he wrote the poem, which became more popular than any of his subsequent verse. He penned a sequel:

Ah yes, I wrote "The Purple Cow"
I'm Sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'm a schizophrenic
And so am I

If it starts
"There once was a girl from Nantucket,"
I am all over that poem.

This has been my favorite poem from the first time I read it:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
by John Donne

Since you STOLE MINE (and since falling back on "The Raven" just ain't cool enough), I'll have to grab one from one of the greatest poets ever.

The Deadly Eye
It's the deadly eye
Of Poogley-Pie.
Look away, look away,
As you walk by,
'Cause whoever looks right at it
Surely will die.
It's a good thing you didn't...
You did?...

Shel Silverstein

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today
Oh how I wish he'd go away.

"(as opposed to juvenile humor aimed at children who like fart jokes)"

Why do I get the feeling that this is aimed at me? Punk!

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear;
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose.

Thomas Moore

I submit to you, in your time of dental crisis, this gem by Ogden Nash:

Give me tanterooms.

Here's a poem about the increasingly popular (but often misunderstood) furries:

If the true meaning of furry you wish to understand
You must think in terms of paw and not hand
You must release your mentality from society's cage
For furry prefurs no race, sex, persuasion or age

You must sort through the hype and the exploitation
Because to be furry needs no justification
It is to reach out and embrace the unknown
To be surrounded by friends and yet still be alone

It is not a gimmick or a political movement
It's nothing so pretentious as a method of improvement
It's only to seek solace in the presence of friends
For when one is furry, the search never ends

It is sometimes to be controlled by one's emotions
It is to often be unsure of depths of devotion
It is the sweet pain of impossible dreams
It is never quite as close or as far as it seems

It is feelings being known without words being spoken
It is the inevitable occasional heart being broken
It is the type of love that now seems cliche
It's experience gained from having learned the hard way

It's a smurgle, a fuzzle, a rumble or purr
It's scales and whiskers and tails and fur
It's what we are, not outside but within
It's the binding force that makes us all kin

It's a howl in greeting to friends held dear
It's a bristling growl when confronted by fear
It's a friendly lick or scritch to show that we care
It's a deep understanding, a compassion that's rare

If what it is to be furry you still don't comprehend
Then consider this advice, my curious friend
If you're willing to respect that which you don't understand
Then come take my paw and I'll take your hand.

Croc O'Dile w/help from Tony DeMatio - 6/95

i like my body when it is with your

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric furr, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh....And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

- e.e. cummings

Ok, Michele, you are going to absolutely hate me, but I thought you might enjoy these ... my favorites.


by Louise Gluck

Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring-

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world


Lost Wax
by C.K. Williams

My love gives me some wax,
so for once instead of words
I work at something real:
I knead until I see emerge
a person, a protagonist;
but I must overwork my wax,
it loses its resiliency,
comes apart in crumbs.

I take another block:
this work, I think, will be a self;
I can feel it forming, brow
and brain; perhaps it will be me,
perhaps, if I can create myself,
I'll be able to amend myself;
my wax, though, freezes
this time, fissures, splits.

Words or wax, no end
to our self-shaping, our forlorn
awareness at the end of which
is only more awareness.
Was ever truth so malleable?
Arid, inadhesive bits of matter.
What might heal you? Love.
What might make you whole? Love. My love.


and the last, a line from Margaret Atwood, one of my favorite writers of all time.

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

I hope you like.

OH, and Hubris, that is a gorgeous choice. I was thinking of e.e. cummings' [since feeling is first] but your choice blew that away. Wow!

OMG...IKNEW it!!!!!i KNEW it before i even click the link....roflmao. How? no idea, but i just knew that would be it!!!

Ohmygod. There's a furry in my comments!

the increasingly popular (but often misunderstood) furries

Oh, there's no misunderstaning. I understand perfectly fine. Not that I'm without my idiosyncracies, mind you, but they have nothing to do with tails and hooves and errr...fur.

Hubris and bass, lovely choices. Solly - I almost went with a Silverstein poem, but opted for my cow instead.

There's one blog chick for me,
And her name
It's not Dottie.
Michele, she's my girl,
My blogging web hottie.

Out of my clothes, I ran past the boathouse

to the edge of the dock

and stood before the naked silence of the lake,

on the drive behind me, my wife

rattling keys, calling for help with the grill,

the groceries wedged into the trunk.

Near the tail end of her voice, I sprang

from the homemade board, bent body

like a hinge, and speared the surface,

cut through water I would not open my eyes in,

to hear the junked depth pop in both ears

as my right hand dug silt and mud,

my left clawed around a pain.

In a fog of rust I opened my eyes to see

what had me, and couldn't, but knew

the fire in my hand and the weight of the thing

holding me under, knew the shock of all

things caught by the unknown

as I kicked off the bottom like a frog,

my limbs doing fearfully strange strokes,

lungs collapsed in a confusion of bubbles,

all air rising back to its element.

I flailed after it, rose toward the bubbles

breaking on light, then felt down my arm

a tug running from a taut line.

Halfway between the bottom of the lake

and the bottom of the sky, I hung like a buoy

on a short rope, an effigy

flown in an underwater parade,

and imagined myself hanging there forever,

a curiosity among fishes, a bait hanging up

instead of down. In the lung-ache,

in the loud pulsing of the temples, what gave first

was something in my head, a burst

of colors like the blind see, and I saw

against the surface a shadow like an angel

quivering in a dead-man's float,

then a shower of plastic knives and forks

spilling past me in the lightened water, a can

of barbequed beans, a bottle of A.1, napkins

drifting down like white leaves,

heavenly litter from the world I struggled toward.

What gave then was something on the other end,

and my hand rose on its own and touched my face.

Into the splintered light under the boathouse,

the loved, suffocating air hovering over the lake,

the cry of my wife leaning dangerously

over the dock, empty grocery bags at her feet,

I bobbed with a hook through the palm of my hand.

David Bottoms
"Under the Boathouse" - 1983

Silverstein is the only poet I've been able to read... I recently just had a week o' Silverstein at one of my blogs.

The Battle

Would you like to hear
Of the terrible night
When I bravely fought the --

I'm scheduled for root canal next week so this one springs to mind:

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental,
But the one that is both
Is dental.
~Ogden Nash

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
--i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
--i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

-EE Cummings


The new ergonomics were delivered
just before lunchtime
so we ignored them.
Without revealing the particulars
let me just say that
lunch was most satisfying.
Jack and Roberta went with
the corned beef for a change.
Jack believes in alien abduction
and Roberta does not,
although she has had
several lost weekends lately
and one or two unexplained scars
on her buttocks. I thought
I recognized someone
from my childhood
at a table across the room,
the same teeth, the same hair,
but when he stood-up,
I wasn't sure, Squid with a red tie?
Impossible. I finished
my quiche lorraine
and returned my thoughts
to Jack's new jag:
"Well, I guess anything's
possible. People disappear
all the time, and most of them
have no explanation
when and if they return.
Look at Tony's daughter
and she's never been the same."
Jack was looking as if
he'd bet on the right horse now.
"And these new ergonomics,
who really designed them?
Does anybody know?
Do they tell us anything?
A name, an address? Hell no."
Squid was paying his bill
in a standard-issue blue blazer.
He looked across the room at me
several times. He looked tired,
like he wanted to sleep for a long time
in a barn somewhere, in Kansas.
I wanted to sleep there, too.

© 1995 James Tate

This is one that's been in my thoughts lately. I can't remember who wrote it.

The Death of the Ball-Turret Gunner

From my mother's sleep I fell
Into the state

And awoke to the black flak and
the nightmare fighters

10,000 feet from earth
loosed from its dream of life

I hunched in its belly
til my wet fur froze

And when I died in there
they washed me out with a hose.

Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-by;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

--Robert Frost

By the way, Bri2K, the fellow who penned The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner was Randall Jarrell.

Full text, Jarrell's The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

To continue the flight theme; Hopkins' "The Windhover"

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing, 5
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion 10
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Did you ever have to read "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold in school? That's the one that ends--

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Etc., etc. I always found it a drag, so I like Anthony Hecht's response to it, "The Dover Bitch:"

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, "Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc."
Well now, I knew this girl. It's true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As sort of a mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.

There's more to it but I'm tired of typing. I think I like it because I'm not very romantic.

I know it's not exactly contemporary, but this poem pops into my head anytime I think of checking out:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal
by William Wordsworth

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course
With rocks, and stones, and trees.

Ok...this is my one of my favorites as well:


There was such speed in her little body,
And such lightness in her footfall,
It is no wonder her brown reverie Astonishes us all

Her wars were bruited in our high window.
We looked among orchard trees and beyond
Where she took arms against her shadow,
Or harried unto the pond

The lazy geese, like a snow cloud
Dripping their snow on the green grass,
Tricking and stopping, sleepy and proud,
Who cried in goose, Alas,

For the tireless heart within the little
Lady with rod that made them rise
From their noon apple-dreams and scuttle
Goose-fashion under the skies!

But now go the bells, and we are ready,
In one house we are sternly stopped
To say we are vexed at her brown reverie,
Lying so primly propped.

D'Oh..sorry...the poets from whom I quoted are Robert Frost and John Crowe Ransom, respectively.

ilyka, I love that poem.

One of my favorites has always been Langston Hughes:

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is like a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Kipling remains my favorite. And this is my favorite out of all of his.

Harp Song of the Dane Women

WHAT is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

She has no house to lay a guest in—
But one chill bed for all to rest in,
That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in.

She has no strong white arms to fold you,
But the ten-times-fingering weed to hold you—
Out on the rocks where the tide has rolled you.

Yet, when the signs of summer thicken,
And the ice breaks, and the birch-buds quicken,
Yearly you turn from our side, and sicken—

Sicken again for the shouts and the slaughters.
You steal away to the lapping waters,
And look at your ship in her winter-quarters.

You forget our mirth, and talk at the tables,
The kine in the shed and the horse in the stables—
To pitch her sides and go over her cables.

Then you drive out where the storm-clouds swallow,
And the sound of your oar-blades, falling hollow,
Is all we have left through the months to follow.

Ah, what is Woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

I'd rather have fingers than toes
I'd rather have eyes than a nose
and as for my hair,
I'm glad it's all there
I'll be sorry as hell if it goes
Gillette Burgess

There once was a little girl
but now she is no more.
For what she thought was H2O
Was H2SO4

The Listeners

"Is anybody there?" said the Traveler,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence chomped the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor.
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the traveler's head:
And he smote upon the door a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveler;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his gray 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 Traveler'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 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:
Aye, 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.

-Walter de la Mare