I Kept My Word

Tell them I came, and no one answered,

That I kept my word,” he said.

– Walter de la Mare, The Listeners

 

‘Tell them I kept my word,’ he said

As the storm clouds gathered overhead

With the setting sun tainting them red

 

‘Tell them I came, as was my right

But the locked Great Hall was shuttered tight

And the echoes mocked in the fading light

 

He rested his head on the deep grained wood

The sunset glowed on his travel stained hood

‘Tell them I came as I said I would.’

 

‘Tell them I travelled over the seas

Across the great rivers and under the trees

But I kept my word and I held the keys’

 

A raven cawed in a twiggy nest

The wind was rising in the west

‘Tell them, say that I did my best.’

 

‘I saw strange stars and stranger skies.’

But he listened in vain for the listeners sighs

‘I kept my word, all else is lies.’

 

At the edge of the sky the thunder growled

And the rising wind wept soft then howled

At the dead Great Hall the traveller prowled

 

‘I kept my oath and now am free

I no longer approach on bended knee.’

He opened his hand and dropped the key

 

It seemed like no stroke of luck or chance

That the heavens threw down their fiery lance

As he rode away with no backward glance.

 

He felt the heat hard on his back

The Great Hall flamed from the lightning’s crack

But he still rode on down the weedy track.

 

I seriously recommend the original, and you can read it here

Originally published July 1st 2014

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