The Empty House

By Walter de La Mare 1873–1956 Walter de La Mare
See this house, how dark it is
Beneath its vast-boughed trees!
Not one trembling leaflet cries
To that Watcher in the skies—
‘Remove, remove thy searching gaze,
Innocent of heaven’s ways,
Brood not, Moon, so wildly bright,
On secrets hidden from sight.’

‘Secrets,’ sighs the night-wind,
‘Vacancy is all I find;
Every keyhole I have made
Wails a summons, faint and sad,
No voice ever answers me,
         Only vacancy.’
‘Once, once … ’ the cricket shrills,
And far and near the quiet fills
With its tiny voice, and then
         Hush falls again.

Mute shadows creeping slow
Mark how the hours go.
Every stone is mouldering slow.
And the least winds that blow
Some minutest atom shake,
Some fretting ruin make
In roof and walls. How black it is
Beneath these thick boughed trees!

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

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Poet Walter de La Mare 1873–1956

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Subjects Nature, Fall, Weather, Mythology & Folklore, Ghosts & the Supernatural

Holidays Halloween

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Walter  de La Mare

Biography

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 Nature, Fall, Weather, Mythology & Folklore, Ghosts & the Supernatural

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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