The Children of Stare

By Walter De La Mare 1873–1956 Walter De La Mare
   Winter is fallen early
   On the house of Stare;
Birds in reverberating flocks
   Haunt its ancestral box;
   Bright are the plenteous berries
   In clusters in the air.

   Still is the fountain’s music,
   The dark pool icy still,
Whereupon a small and sanguine sun
   Floats in a mirror on,
   Into a West of crimson,
   From a South of daffodil.

   ’Tis strange to see young children
   In such a wintry house;
Like rabbits’ on the frozen snow
   Their tell-tale footprints go;
   Their laughter rings like timbrels
   ’Neath evening ominous:

   Their small and heightened faces
   Like wine-red winter buds;
Their frolic bodies gentle as
   Flakes in the air that pass,
   Frail as the twirling petal
   From the briar of the woods.

   Above them silence lours,
   Still as an arctic sea;
Light fails; night falls; the wintry moon
   Glitters; the crocus soon
   Will open grey and distracted
   On earth’s austerity:

   Thick mystery, wild peril,
   Law like an iron rod:—
Yet sport they on in Spring’s attire,
   Each with his tiny fire
   Blown to a core of ardour
   By the awful breath of God.

Source: The Collected Poems of Walter de la Mare (1979)

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Poet Walter De La Mare 1873–1956


Subjects Winter, Nature, Living, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Mythology & Folklore, Youth

Holidays Halloween

Poetic Terms Imagery, Rhymed Stanza

 Walter  De La Mare


Walter de la Mare is considered one of modern literature's chief exemplars of the romantic imagination. His complete works form a sustained treatment of romantic themes: dreams, death, rare states of mind and emotion, fantasy worlds of childhood, and the pursuit of the transcendent.

De la Mare's life was outwardly uneventful. As a youth he attended St. Paul's Cathedral School, and his formal education did not extend beyond . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Winter, Nature, Living, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Mythology & Folklore, Youth


Poetic Terms Imagery, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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