Sep 13, 2021
Welcome to Season 5 of The Well Read Poem with poet and
classicist Thomas Banks. Throughout this season, we will be
exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare. De la Mare was a great
Gothic writer and was very interested in the atmosphere of the
uncanny. Poem begins at timestamp 6:25. Check out our sister
podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of
By Walter de la Mare
Jagg'd mountain peaks and skies ice-green
Wall in the wild, cold scene below.
Churches, farms, bare copse, the sea
In freezing quiet of winter show;
Where ink-black shapes on fields in flood
Curling, skating, and sliding go.
To left, a gabled tavern; a blaze;
Peasants; a watching child; and lo,
Muffled, mute--beneath naked trees
In sharp perspective set a-row--
Trudge huntsmen, sinister spears aslant,
Dogs snuffling behind them in the snow;
And arrowlike, lean, athwart the air
Swoops into space a crow.
But flame, nor ice, nor piercing rock,
Nor silence, as of a frozen sea,
Nor that slant inward infinite line
Of signboard, bird, and hill, and tree,
Give more than subtle hint of him
Who squandered here life's mystery.