Top 20 Most Popular Poems of Walter De La Mare

These are the top twenty (20) most popular poems of Walter De La Mare.

From The Rainbow to Berries.

If you want to know his greatest poems of all time, then this poetry collection is for you.

Keep reading!

The Rainbow

I saw the lovely arch
Of Rainbow span the sky,
The gold sun burning
As the rain swept by.

In bright-ringed solitude
The showery foliage shone
One lovely moment,
And the Bow was gone.

Walter De La Mare

The Little Green Orchard

Some one is always sitting there,
In the little green orchard;
Even when the sun is high
In noon’s unclouded sky,
And faintly droning goes
The bee from rose to rose,
Some one in shadow is sitting there,
In the little green orchard.

Yes, and when twilight is falling softly
In the little green orchard;
When the grey dew distils
And every flower-cup fills;
When the last blackbird says,
“What – what!” and goes her way – s-sh!
I have heard voices calling softly
In the little green orchard.

Not that I am afraid of being there,
In the little green orchard;
Why, when the moon’s been bright,
Shedding her lonesome light,
And moths like ghosties come,
And the horned snail leaves home:
I’ve sat there, whispering and listening there,
In the little green orchard.

Only it’s strange to be feeling there,
In the little green orchard;
Whether you paint or draw,
Dig, hammer, chop, or saw;
When you are most alone,
All but the silence gone …
Some one is waiting and watching there,
In the little green orchard.

Walter De La Mare

King David

King David was a sorrowful man:
No cause for his sorrow had he;
And he called for the music of a hundred harps,
To ease his melancholy.

They played till they all fell silent:
Played-and play sweet did they;
But the sorrow that haunted the heart of King David
They could not charm away.

He rose; and in his garden
Walked by the moon alone,
A nightingale hidden in a cypress-tree
Jargoned on and on.

King David lifted his sad eyes
Into the dark-boughed tree-
”Tell me, thou little bird that singest,
Who taught my grief to thee?’

But the bird in no wise heeded
And the king in the cool of the moon
Hearkened to the nightingale’s sorrowfulness,
Till all his own was gone.

Walter De La Mare

Earth Folk

The cat she walks on padded claws,
The wolf on the hills lays stealthy paws,
Feathered birds in the rain-sweet sky
At their ease in the air, flit low, flit high.

The oak’s blind, tender roots pierce deep,
His green crest towers, dimmed in sleep,
Under the stars whose thrones are set
Where never prince hath journeyed yet.

Walter De La Mare

The Old Stone House

Nothing on the grey roof, nothing on the brown,
Only a little greening where the rain drips down;
Nobody at the window, nobody at the door,
Only a little hollow which a foot once wore;
But still I tread on tiptoe, still tiptoe on I go,
Past nettles, porch, and weedy well, for oh, I know
A friendless face is peering, and a still clear eye
Peeps closely through the casement
as my step goes by.

Walter De La Mare


No breath of wind,
No gleam of sun –
Still the white snow
Swirls softly down –
Twig and bough
And blade and thorn
All in an icy
Quiet, forlorn.
Whispering, nestling,
Through the air,
On sill and stone,
Roof – everywhere,
It heaps its powdery
Crystal flakes,
Of every tree
A mountain makes:
Till pale and faint
At shut of day,
Stoops from the West
One wintry ray.
Then, feathered in fire,
Where ghosts the moon,
A robin shrills
His lonely tune;
And from her dark-gnarled
Yew-tree lair
Flits she who had been
In hiding there.

Walter De La Mare

Alas, Alack!

Ann, Ann!
Come! Quick as you can!
There’s a fish that talks
In the frying-pan.
Out of the fat,
As clear as glass,
He put up his mouth
And moaned ‘Alas!’
Oh, most mournful,
‘Alas, alack!’
Then turned to his sizzling,
And sank him back.

Walter De La Mare

The Lost Shoe

Poor little Lucy
By some mischance,
Lost her shoe
As she did dance –
‘Twas not on the stairs,
Not in the hall;
Not where they sat
At supper at all.
She looked in the garden,
But there it was not;
Henhouse, or kennel,
Or high dovecote.
Dairy and meadow,
And wild woods through
Showed not a trace
Of Lucy’s shoe.
Bird nor bunny
Nor glimmering moon
Breathed a whisper
Of where ’twas gone.
It was cried and cried,
Oyez and Oyez!
In French, Dutch, Latin,
And Portuguese.
Ships the dark seas
Went plunging through,
But none brought news
Of Lucy’s shoe;
And still she patters
In silk and leather,
O’er snow, sand, shingle,
In every weather;
Spain, and Africa,
Java, China,
And lamped Japan;
Plain and desert,
She hops-hops through,
To gold Peru;
Mountain and forest,
And river too,
All the world over
For her lost shoe.

Walter De La Mare

The Witch

Weary went the old Witch,
Weary of her pack,
She sat her down by the churchyard wall,
And jerked it off her back.

The cord brake, yes, the cord brake,
Just where the dead did lie,
And Charms and Spells and Sorceries
Spilled out beneath the sky.

Weary was the old Witch;
She rested her old eyes
From the lantern-fruited yew trees,
And the scarlet of the skies;

And out the dead came stumbling,
From every rift and crack,
Silent as moss, and plundered
The gaping pack.

They wish them, three times over,
Away they skip full soon:
Bat and Mole and Leveret,
Under the rising moon;
Owl and Newt and Nightjar:
They take their shapes and creep,
Silent as churchyard lichen,
While she squats asleep.

All of these dead were stirring:
Each unto each did call,
“A Witch, a Witch is sleeping
Under the churchyard wall;

“A Witch, a Witch is sleeping….”
The shrillness ebbed away;
And up the way-worn moon clomb bright,
Hard on the track of day.

She shone, high, wan and silvery;
Day’s colours paled and died:
And, save the mute and creeping worm,
Nought else was there beside.

Names may be writ; and mounds rise;
Purporting, Here be bones:
But empty is that churchyard
Of all save stones.

Owl and Newt and Nightjar,
Leveret, Bat and Mole
Haunt and call in the twilight,
Where she slept, poor soul.

Walter De La Mare


Green Mistletoe!
Oh, I remember now
A dell of snow,
Frost on the bough;
None there but I:
Snow, snow, and a wintry sky.

None there but I,
And footprints one by one,
Where I had run;
Where shrill and powdery
A robin sat in the tree.

And he whistled sweet;
And I in the crusted snow
With snow-clubbed feet
Jigged to and fro,
Till, from the day,
The rose-light ebbed away.

And the robin flew
Into the air, the air,
The white mist through;
And small and rare
The night-frost fell
In the calm and misty dell.

And the dusk gathered low,
And the silver moon and stars
On the frozen snow
Drew taper bars,
Kindled winking fires
In the hooded briers.

And the sprawling Bear
Growled deep in the sky;
And Orion’s hair
Streamed sparkling by:
But the North sighed low,
“Snow, snow, more snow!”

Walter De La Mare

A Widow’s Weeds

A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April – drip – drip – drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs –
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.

Walter De La Mare

The Little Creature

Twinkum, twankum, twirlum and twitch
My great grandam – She was a Witch.
Mouse in wainscot, Saint in niche –
My great grandam – She was a Witch;
Deadly nightshade flowers in a ditch –
My great grandam – She was a Witch;
Long though the shroud it grows stitch by stitch –

My great grandam – She was a Witch;
Wean your weakling before you breech –
My great grandam – She was a Witch;
The fattest pig’s but a double flitch –
My great grandam – She was a Witch;
Nightjars rattle, owls scritch –
My great grandam – She was a Witch.

Pretty and small,
A mere nothing at all,
Pinned up sharp in the ghost of a shawl,
She’d straddle her down to the kirkyard wall,
And mutter and whisper and call; and call –
And – call.

Red blood out and black blood in,
My Nannie says I’m a child of sin –
How did I choose me my witchcraft kin!
Know I as soon as dark’s dreams begin
Snared is my heart in a nightmare’s gin;
Never from terror I out may win;
So dawn and dusk I pine, peak, thin,
Scarcely beknowing t’other from which –
My great grandam – She was a Witch.

Walter De La Mare

The Bees’ Song

Thousandz of thornz there be
On the Rozez where gozez
The Zebra of Zee:
Sleek, striped, and hairy,
The steed of the Fairy
Princess of Zee.

Heavy with blossomz be
The Rozez that growzez
In the thickets of Zee.
Where grazez the Zebra,
Marked Abracadeeebra,
Of the Princess of Zee.

And he nozez that poziez
Of the Rozez that grozez
So luvez’m and free,
With an eye, dark and wary,
In search of a Fairy,
Whose Rozez he knowzez
Were not honeyed for he,
But to breathe a sweet incense
To solace the Princess
Of far-away Zee.

Walter De La Mare

The Bookworm

‘I’m tired – Oh, tired of books,’ said Jack,
‘I long for meadows green,
And woods, where shadowy violets
Nod their cool leaves between;
I long to see the ploughman stride
His darkening acres o’er,
To hear the hoarse sea-waters drive
Their billows ‘gainst the shore;
I long to watch the sea-mew wheel
Back to her rock-perched mate;
Or, where the breathing cows are housed,
Lean dreaming o’er the gate.
Something has gone, and ink and print
Will never bring it back;
I long for the green fields again,
I’m tired of books,’ said Jack.

Walter De La Mare

The Horseman

I heard a horseman
Ride over the hill;
The moon shone clear,
The night was still;
His helm was silver,
And pale was he;
And the horse he rode
Was of ivory.

Walter De La Mare


There is a wind where the rose was;
Cold rain where sweet grass was;
And clouds like sheep
Stream o’er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was.

Nought gold where your hair was;
Nought warm where your hand was;
But phantom, forlorn,
Beneath the thorn,
Your ghost where your face was.

Sad winds where your voice was;
Tears, tears where my heart was;
And ever with me,
Child, ever with me,
Silence where hope was.

Walter De La Mare


Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty
A hundred years ago,
All through the night with lantern bright
The Watch trudged to and fro,
And little boys tucked snug abed
Would wake from dreams to hear –
‘Two o’ the morning by the clock,
And the stars a-shining clear!’
Or, when across the chimney-tops
Screamed shrill a North-East gale,
A faint and shaken voice would shout,
‘Three! And a storm of hail!’

Walter De La Mare

Bread And Cherries

‘Cherries, ripe cherries!’
The old woman cried,
In her snowy white apron,
And basket beside;
And the little boys came,
Eyes shining, cheeks red,
To buy a bag of cherries,
To eat with their bread.

Walter De La Mare

Old Shellover

‘Come!’ said Old Shellover.
‘What?’ says Creep.
‘The horny old Gardener’s fast asleep;
The fat cock Thrush
To his nest has gone;
And the dew shines bright
In the rising Moon;
Old Sallie Worm from her hole doth peep:
Come!’ said Old Shellover.
‘Aye!’ said Creep.

Walter De La Mare


There was an old woman
Went blackberry picking
Along the hedges
From Weep to Wicking.
Half a pottle –
No more she had got,
When out steps a Fairy
From her green grot;
And says, “Well, Jill,
Would ‘ee pick ‘ee mo?”
And Jill, she curtseys,
And looks just so.
“Be off,” says the Fairy,
“As quick as you can,
Over the meadows
To the little green lane,
That dips to the hayfields
Of Farmer Grimes:
I’ve berried those hedges
A score of times;
Bushel on bushel
I’ll promise ‘ee, Jill,
This side of supper
If ‘ee pick with a will.”
She glints very bright,
And speaks her fair;
Then lo, and behold!
She has faded in air.

Be sure old Goodie
She trots betimes
Over the meadows
To Farmer Grimes.
And never was queen
With jewellry rich
As those same hedges
From twig to ditch;
Like Dutchmen’s coffers,
Fruit, thorn, and flower –
They shone like William
And Mary’s bower.
And be sure Old Goodie
Went back to Weep,
So tired with her basket
She scarce could creep.
When she comes in the dusk
To her cottage door,
There’s Towser wagging
As never before,
To see his Missus
So glad to be
Come from her fruit-picking
Back to he.
As soon as next morning
Dawn was grey,
The pot on the hob
Was simmering away;
And all in a stew
And a hugger-mugger
Towser and Jill
A-boiling of sugar,
And the dark clear fruit
That from Faerie came,
For syrup and jelly
And blackberry jam.

Twelve jolly gallipots
Jill put by;
And one little teeny one,
One inch high;
And that she’s hidden
A good thumb deep,
Half way over
From Wicking to Weep.

Walter De La Mare

Really, all of these poems are unique and pure! No, wonder Walter De La Mare was best remembered for his works for children.

Honestly, I was already expecting that―The Rainbow would be on the top. As much as I love butterflies, I also love rainbows, and this poem gives credit to it. It was a spectacular poem.

What about you? What’s your most favorite poem of Walter De La Mare?

Is your favorite poem included in this list? Let me know in the comment section below! 😉


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