"The Listeners" is a unique poem written by Walter De La Mare. The poet devoted the later part of his life to writing in 1908. He wrote diverse poems both for kids and adults.
The poem is written in 36 lines with noticeable rhyme scheme. It’s written in a very simple style. It can be read as a story to kids. It can also be interpreted by an adult. It’s indeed a story poem that can be interpreted in diverse ways. You might also like the recitation of the same poem here.
"The Listeners" relays the story of a traveler who knocks at a door of a house but nobody answers. No one is even ready to listen to him. The poem is written in a supernatural manner. It portrays the incidents that happen in the real world and the world of phantoms. The closed door in the poem signifies the gap between the two worlds. The traveler only meets with silence when he knocks at the door. His horse champs the grasses while a bird flies over the roof of the house. The bird also flies above the traveler’s head. He goes ahead to knock a second time and inquires if there’s anybody in the house. Still yet, no one answers. The door remains closed.
Meanwhile, there’s an indication that the house has remained uninhabited for years. Weeds have overgrown the entire area. The traveler becomes apprehensive when his second knock yields no result. He becomes impatient and fearful. Loneliness surrounds him and he equally becomes perplexed. The only possible listeners around are phantoms or ghosts. They listen to the voice of the traveler who is coming from the world of the humans. Simply put, only ghosts listen to the voice of the traveler. Hence, the house remains haunted. It’s also a habitation for ghosts. There’s no trace of real human’s voice in it. The only possible listeners are ghosts. Hence, there exists a psychological communication between the traveler and the ghosts.
Again, the traveler knocks louder and louder but no human voice answers. This time, the ghosts keep silent. The traveler discovers he’s simply walking in the region of the dead. He mounts back on his horse and rides away. He left the phantoms behind who suddenly become real. They heard the clutter of the traveler’s horse.
In all, the poem has a supernatural theme. It portrays what happens in the real world and that of the phantoms.