Evening Poetry, October 18

The Empty House

by 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! 

You can find this poem in The Collected Poems of Walter de la Mare.