Sunday, 3 June 2007


Mary Webb is a favourite 'country' poet. She was born and raised in the West Midlands, where I am originally from.

Mary Webb
The fairy people flouted me,
Mocked me, shouted me--
They chased me down the dreamy hill and beat me with a wand.
Within the wood they found me, put spells on me and bound me
And left me at the edge of day in John the miller's pond.Beneath the eerie starlight
Their hair shone curd-white;
Their bodies were all twisted like a lichened apple-tree;
Feather-light and swift they moved,
And never one the other loved,
For all were full of ancient dreams and dark designs on me.With noise of leafy singing
And white wands swinging,
They marched away amid the grass that swayed to let them through.
Between the yellow tansies
Their eyes, like purple pansies,
Peered back on me before they passed all trackless in the dew.

This is a late addition to Daisy Lupin's Poetry Fest...I loved this poem and everything else by Walter de la Mare. Some of his other poems have already been chosen by contributors to Daisy's Poetry Fest and I urge anyone not familiar with him to read them . It always stirred my imagination as a child and does to this day...

'The Listeners'
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.


mrsnesbitt said...

I love this poem and I so much enjoy reading it aloud to a class of children, I love building up the tension and slowly raising my voice to add atmosphere...I should have been on the stage really! LOL!

Sheila said...

Thank you for adding the lovely illustration above the Mary Webb poem Daisy, very appropriate..!

miss*R said...

ooh have never heard of the first poem - I will copy this into my journal!

Bimbimbie said...

Hi Sheila ...... I like the 2nd Poem and I think it's ringing some distant memory for me ...... As I was reading over the words I realised I was holding my breath as though I was inside listening too *!*

greenconsciousness said...

I always loved these last poems - The Listeners is the poem for the Cassandra in me - I heard it when I was young and it struck a chord in me.

Sleep well sweet Daisy - I found you a few days too late but you have left us all these rich beauties here and on your Cat in You are with your dear cat friend now and we are waving to you through the mists.