Walter de la Mare

(1873 - 1958 / Kent / England)


Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in silver feathered sleep
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Wednesday, March 26, 2003


# 104 poem on top 500 Poems

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Read poems about / on: silver, fish, dog, moon, water, sleep, night, fishing, tree

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  • Rookie Katherine Rodriguez (5/20/2014 9:37:00 PM)

    I love this poem! However no matter how many times I've read it i don't get what the theme is. If anyone would be so kind to explain it to me i would be very grateful. Thanks. (Report) Reply

    Gold Star - 10,094 Points * Sunprincess * (6/22/2014 8:04:00 PM)

    ...............the theme is the beautiful image of this poem everything is silver....cause the moon is shining her silvery light.....

  • Rookie Db Wilson (7/15/2012 2:33:00 AM)

    Of all the poems I was taught (read forced to learn) as a child, this (and five eyes) will remain with me to to the end of my days.
    and moveless a silver stream one of the most evocative two lines I've ever encountered. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jerry Betbeder (5/25/2012 1:13:00 AM)

    I recall this poem being brilliantly read by Ann De Villiers in our class at Milner School. (Cica '54) . Great poem, it comes to mind every full moon

    Jerry b (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Hello Howdy (4/7/2012 8:38:00 AM)

    I first learnt this poem as a primary school student at Montfort Primary School, Batu Pahat, Malaysia.
    The years slipped by and with fading memories of friends, teachers and events but somehow this Silver is remembered, so I say, thank you.
    I am now 53 and I do not live in Malaysia anymore. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kuldeep Kaul (12/30/2011 5:15:00 AM)

    Our English teacher in Kashmir told us that in litery terms this is called Personification, any thing that does not have life when you see with physical eye but author in words describes it in such a way that it has the physical form. Moon which when we see with physical form is lifeless moving around earth but poet makes you believe that she is moving & she sees various things. In fact this concept of Personification has been used in various religions to describe God, Heaven, Hell etc. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Rick Mason (3/7/2011 7:10:00 PM)

    I, too, have long loved 'Silver' and I've never considered it only a children's poem. I have never thought, however, that a poem must have 'levels' of meaning or allegory or should be deciphered like a puzzle in 'National Treasure' in order to be considered a work for adults. Though the haiku is constrained by form and is non-rhyming, I think the most vital part of the art is the creation of one intense image or impression and, in this sense, 'Silver' is truly like an extended haiku. Poems
    are different things to all people and we all put our own meanings to them, but 'Silver' will be a vivid and beautiful image of night for me. People insist on making so many levels of meaning, for instance, of 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' but it may be my favorite poem (who can really pick just one favorite) because it is so beautiful and I can feel the cold and smell the woods and hear... well, that is how I feel poetry. We must all embrace them in the way that the poem most moves us and it would be impossible to appreciate 'The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner' on imagery alone, not to mention that it requires deep thought to keep track of what is going on, but I'll stick with the powerful imagery and beauty of 'Silver' (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joanna Koomen (7/8/2009 1:57:00 PM)

    I have loved this poem since my early teens, whilst at boarding school in Dublin Eire.
    It is one of the few I remember by heart..possibly the onomatopoeia.?
    He is also one of my favourite poets. along with many others....Keats..Donne..Virgil..yeats..along with many other philosophers, who were also poets in their own right. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anne Martin (6/9/2009 2:53:00 PM)

    I won a speech competition at age 12 by reading this poem since then it has become a firm favourite (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Amy Leung (4/21/2007 2:03:00 PM)

    Hey guys, does anyone have a SUMMARY of this poem?
    can you send it to me please? thanks! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Linda Armstrong (11/28/2006 1:05:00 AM)

    Julie-Like the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, I must rear myself up to full height and admit that I am honored to write poetry for children, so eschew away. I eschew thesauri. I notice that I can read Lorca, so the Spanish words he uses must be pretty simple-but, ah! What he does with them... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Linda Armstrong (11/28/2006 12:57:00 AM)

    Gentle readers,
    This lovely piece is not just for children. The figure of speech you seek is an extended metaphor (and a bit of a joke-poets relish literary humor) . King Midas in the old Greek tale turned everything to gold with a touch of his finger, rendering it lifeless. The very feminine moon in this poem brushes everything with her feet, or with her glance. Everything she sees in the poem is sleeping, except the harvest mouse, which obliquely suggests Ceres, the goddess of the harvest, and her daughter, who spent a portion of the year with Hades in the Underworld (dark-but filled with treasure) .
    In the line you quote, 'By silver reeds in a silver stream' the light on the water is being compared to precious metal-transformed by the touch of a personified, female moon. If you think a bit about the treasures available to a dreamer-the riches of the unconscious-you will realize that the moon here is something of a muse. Like an artist (or the poet himself) , she transforms the ordinary world into a paradise that is richly strange-or, for this mystic, as most poets are, reveals a bit of its true nature. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Julie Drew (9/7/2006 2:13:00 PM)

    It's an image. Also there's a lot of assonance with long vowel sounds that make the poem sound haunted. And also the 's' sound repeats, which is also a haunting, whispery sound.

    I teach fifth grade in a bilingual school, and always do a poetry unit. I use this poem in the beginning of the year to illustrate 'image' and have kids draw their favorite images. Lots of moons wearing silver shoes, and silver mice running by sleeping silver dogs. It's great fun.

    Most of the stuff I teach is actually adult poetry-I eschew most stuff written for kids. But this poem and _The Listeners_ are in my private teaching collection. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anupam Sinharoy (8/15/2006 9:08:00 PM)

    Dear friend,
    Can you please write the answer to my question. The question is
    .' By silver reeds in a silver stream'
    1 Name the poet
    2 Name the figure of speech used in the above and explain your choice. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anupam Sinharoy (8/15/2006 9:02:00 PM)

    Dear friend,
    Can you please send me a e-mail writing the summary of the poem silver.I relly need your help. (Report) Reply

Read all 24 comments »

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