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Best Famous Walter De La Mare Poems

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by Walter de la Mare | |

An Epitaph

 Here lies a most beautiful lady, 
Light of step and heart was she; 
I think she was the most beautiful lady 
That ever was in the West Country.
But beauty vanishes, beauty passes; However rare -- rare it be; And when I crumble,who will remember This lady of the West Country.


by Walter de la Mare | |

The Huntsmen

 Three jolly gentlemen, 
In coats of red, 
Rode their horses 
Up to bed.
Three jolly gentlemen Snored till morn, Their horses champing The golden corn.
Three jolly gentlemen At break of day, Came clitter-clatter down the stairs And galloped away.


by Walter de la Mare | |

All Thats Past

 Very old are the woods; 
And the buds that break 
Out of the brier's boughs, 
When March winds wake, 
So old with their beauty are-- 
Oh, no man knows 
Through what wild centuries 
Roves back the rose.
Very old are the brooks; And the rills that rise Where snow sleeps cold beneath The azure skies Sing such a history Of come and gone, Their every drop is as wise As Solomon.
Very old are we men; Our dreams are tales Told in dim Eden By Eve's nightingales; We wake and whisper awhile, But, the day gone by, Silence and sleep like fields Of amaranth lie.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Alone

 The abode of the nightingale is bare,
Flowered frost congeals in the gelid air,
The fox howls from his frozen lair:
Alas, my loved one is gone,
I am alone:
It is winter.
Once the pink cast a winy smell, The wild bee hung in the hyacinth bell, Light in effulgence of beauty fell: I am alone: It is winter.
My candle a silent fire doth shed, Starry Orion hunts o'erhead; Come moth, come shadow, the world is dead: Alas, my loved one is gone, I am alone; It is winter.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Good-bye

 The last of last words spoken is, Good-bye -
The last dismantled flower in the weed-grown hedge,
The last thin rumour of a feeble bell far ringing,
The last blind rat to spurn the mildewed rye.
A hardening darkness glasses the haunted eye, Shines into nothing the watcher's burnt-out candle, Wreathes into scentless nothing the wasting incense, Faints in the outer silence the hunting-cry.
Love of its muted music breathes no sigh, Thought in her ivory tower gropes in her spinning, Toss on in vain the whispering trees of Eden, Last of all last words spoken is, Good-bye.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Winter

 A DIAMOND glow of winter o’er the world:
Amid the chilly halo nigh the west
Flickers a phantom violet bloom unfurled
 Dim on the twilight’s breast.
Only phantasmal blooms but for an hour, A transient beauty; then the white stars shine Chilling the heart: I long for thee to flower, O bud of light divine.
But never visible to sense or thought The flower of Beauty blooms afar withdrawn; If in our being then we know it not, Or, knowing, it is gone.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Winter

 A wrinkled crabbed man they picture thee, 
Old Winter, with a rugged beard as grey 
As the long moss upon the apple-tree; 
Blue-lipt, an icedrop at thy sharp blue nose, 
Close muffled up, and on thy dreary way 
Plodding alone through sleet and drifting snows.
They should have drawn thee by the high-heapt hearth, Old Winter! seated in thy great armed chair, Watching the children at their Christmas mirth; Or circled by them as thy lips declare Some merry jest, or tale of murder dire, Or troubled spirit that disturbs the night, Pausing at times to rouse the mouldering fire, Or taste the old October brown and bright.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Winter

 When icicles hang by the wall 
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail 
And Tom bears logs into the hall, 
And milk comes frozen home in pail, 
When Blood is nipped and ways be foul, 
Then nightly sings the staring owl, 
Tu-who; 
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note, 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all aloud the wind doth blow, And coughing drowns the parson's saw, And birds sit brooding in the snow, And Marian's nose looks red and raw When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-who; Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note, While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


by Walter de la Mare | |

How Sleep the Brave

 Nay, nay, sweet England, do not grieve! 
Not one of these poor men who died 
But did within his soul believe 
That death for thee was glorified.
Ever they watched it hovering near That mystery 'yond thought to plumb, Perchance sometimes in loathèd fear They heard cold Danger whisper, Come! -- Heard and obeyed.
O, if thou weep Such courage and honour, beauty, care, Be it for joy that those who sleep Only thy joy could share.


by Walter de la Mare | |

A Song of Enchantment

 A song of Enchantment I sang me there,
In a green-green wood, by waters fair,
Just as the words came up to me
I sang it under the wild wood tree.
Widdershins turned I, singing it low, Watching the wild birds come and go; No cloud in the deep dark blue to be seen Under the thick-thatched branches green.
Twilight came: silence came: The planet of Evening's silver flame; By darkening paths I wandered through Thickets trembling with drops of dew.
But the music is lost and the words are gone Of the song I sang as I sat alone, Ages and ages have fallen on me - On the wood and the pool and the elder tree.


by Walter de la Mare | |

The Scribe

 What lovely things 
Thy hand hath made: 
The smooth-plumed bird 
In its emerald shade, 
The seed of the grass, 
The speck of the stone 
Which the wayfaring ant 
Stirs -- and hastes on! 

Though I should sit 
By some tarn in thy hills, 
Using its ink 
As the spirit wills 
To write of Earth's wonders, 
Its live, willed things, 
Flit would the ages 
On soundless wings 
Ere unto Z 
My pen drew nigh 
Leviathan told, 
And the honey-fly: 
And still would remain 
My wit to try -- 
My worn reeds broken, 
The dark tarn dry, 
All words forgotten -- 
Thou, Lord, and I.


by Walter de la Mare | |

An Epitaph

 ENOUGH; and leave the rest to Fame! 
'Tis to commend her, but to name.
Courtship which, living, she declined, When dead, to offer were unkind: Nor can the truest wit, or friend, Without detracting, her commend.
To say--she lived a virgin chaste In this age loose and all unlaced; Nor was, when vice is so allowed, Of virtue or ashamed or proud; That her soul was on Heaven so bent, No minute but it came and went; That, ready her last debt to pay, She summ'd her life up every day; Modest as morn, as mid-day bright, Gentle as evening, cool as night: --'Tis true; but all too weakly said.
'Twas more significant, she's dead.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Alone

 Over the fence, the dead settle in
for a journey.
Nine o'clock.
You are alone for the first time today.
Boys asleep.
Husband out.
A beer bottle sweats in your hand, and sea lavender clogs the air with perfume.
Think of yourself.
Your arms rest with nothing to do after weeks spent attending to others.
Your thoughts turn to whether butter will last the week, how much longer the car can run on its partial tank of gas.


by Walter de la Mare | |

At Ease

 Most wounds can Time repair;
But some are mortal -- these:
For a broken heart there is no balm,
No cure for a heart at ease --

At ease, but cold as stone,
Though the intellect spin on,
And the feat and practiced face may show
Nought of the life that is gone;

But smiles, as by habit taught;
And sighs, as by custom led;
And the soul within is safe from damnation,
Since it is dead.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Bones

 Said Mr.
Smith, “I really cannot Tell you, Dr.
Jones— The most peculiar pain I’m in— I think it’s in my bones.
” Said Dr.
Jones, “Oh, Mr.
Smith, That’s nothing.
Without doubt We have a simple cure for that; It is to take them out.
” He laid forthwith poor Mr.
Smith Close-clamped upon the table, And, cold as stone, took out his bones As fast as he was able.
Smith said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” And wished him a good-day; And with his parcel ‘neath his arm He slowly moved away.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Fare Well

 When I lie where shades of darkness 
Shall no more assail mine eyes, 
Nor the rain make lamentation 
When the wind sighs; 
How will fare the world whose wonder 
Was the very proof of me? 
Memory fades, must the remembered 
Perishing be? 

Oh, when this my dust surrenders 
Hand, foot, lip, to dust again, 
May these loved and loving faces 
Please other men! 
May the rusting harvest hedgerow 
Still the Traveller's Joy entwine, 
And as happy children gather 
Posies once mine.
Look thy last on all things lovely, Every hour.
Let no night Seal thy sense in deathly slumber Till to delight Thou have paid thy utmost blessing; Since that all things thou wouldst praise Beauty took from those who loved them In other days.


by Walter de la Mare | |

The Mocking Fairy

 'Won't you look out of your window, Mrs.
Gill?' Quoth the Fairy, nidding, nodding in the garden; 'Can't you look out of your window, Mrs.
Gill?' Quoth the Fairy, laughing softly in the garden; But the air was still, the cherry boughs were still, And the ivy-tod neath the empty sill, And never from her window looked out Mrs.
Gill On the Fairy shrilly mocking in the garden.
'What have they done with you, you poor Mrs.
Gill?' Quoth the Fairy brightly glancing in the garden; 'Where have they hidden you, you poor old Mrs.
Gill?' Quoth the Fairy dancing lightly in the garden; But night's faint veil now wrapped the hill, Stark 'neath the stars stood the dead-still Mill, And out of her cold cottage never answered Mrs.
Gill The Fairy mimbling, mambling in the garden.


by Walter de la Mare | |

The Remonstrance

 I was at peace until you came 
And set a careless mind aflame; 
I lived in quiet; cold, content; 
All longing in safe banishment, 
Until your ghostly lips and eyes 
Made wisdom unwise.
Naught was in me to tempt your feet To seek a lodging.
Quite forgot Lay the sweet solitude we two In childhood used to wander through; Time's cold had closed my heart about, And shut you out.
Well, and what then? .
.
.
O vision grave, Take all the little all I have! Strip me of what in voiceless throught Life's kept of life, unhoped, unsought! -- Reverie and dream that memory must Hide deep in dust! This only I say: Though cold and bare, The haunted house you have chosen to share, Still 'neath its walls the moonbeam goes And trembles on the untended rose; Still o'er its broken roof-tree rise The starry arches of the skies; And 'neath your lightest word shall be The thunder of an ebbing sea.


by Walter de la Mare | |

The Sleeper

 As Ann came in one summer's day, 
She felt that she must creep, 
So silent was the clear cool house, 
It seemed a house of sleep.
And sure, when she pushed open the door, Rapt in the stillness there, Her mother sat, with stooping head, Asleep upon a chair; Fast -- fast asleep; her two hands laid Loose-folded on her knee, So that her small unconscious face Looked half unreal to be: So calmly lit with sleep's pale light Each feature was; so fair Her forehead -- every trouble was Smooth'd out beneath her hair.
But though her mind in dream now moved, Still seemed her gaze to rest From out beneath her fast-sealed lids, Above her moving breast, On Ann, as quite, quite still she stood; Yet slumber lay so deep Even her hands upon her lap Seemed saturate with sleep.
And as Ann peeped, a cloudlike dread Stole over her, and then, On stealthy, mouselike feet she trod, And tiptoed out again.


by Walter de la Mare | |

The Song of Finis

 At the edge of All the Ages 
A Knight sate on his steed, 
His armor red and thin with rust 
His soul from sorrow freed; 
And he lifted up his visor 
From a face of skin and bone, 
And his horse turned head and whinnied 
As the twain stood there alone.
No bird above that steep of time Sang of a livelong quest; No wind breathed, Rest: "Lone for an end!" cried Knight to steed, Loosed an eager rein-- Charged with his challenge into space: And quiet did quiet remain.