‘Is 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 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 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.
Walter De La MareNational Poetry Day Ambassador, Joseph Coelho says, "I chose this poem because I find it fascinating that we are given the point of view of a messenger who has been given a task to knock on a door (that is never answered) I felt this sat nicely with my poem that also reveals the point of view of a messenger, a child between two parents."
Walter de la Mare was an English poet, short story writer and novelist. He is probably best remembered for his works for children and for his poem "The Listeners".
Joseph Coelho is a performance poet and playwright. He has written plays for companies including: Soho Theatre, Polka Theatre, Theatre Royal York, Oily Cart, The Spark Children’s Festival, Islington Community Theatre, Pied Piper Theatre Company and Pinhole Theatre Company. His plays have received special note from Soho’s Verity Bargate Award and The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition.
Joseph is writer, performer and co-founder for Word Pepper Theatre Company with author/illustrator/paper-engineer John O’leary. Word Pepper’s debut show The PoetryJoe Show has toured widely up and down the country over the last two years, and was this year joined by their second show Pop-up Flashback in association with Half Moon Theatre and Apples and Snakes.
Joseph’s poems have been published in several Macmillan anthologies including 'Green Glass Beads' (ed. by Jacqueline Wilson). His debut children’s collection 'Werewolf Club Rules' is published by Frances Lincoln and was shortlisted for The CLPE Poetry Award in 2015. Joseph has been a guest poet on Cbeebies Rhyme Rocket where he was beamed up from The Rhyme Rock to perform his Bug Poem.