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The Sleeper
Walter de la Mare

As Ann came in one summer's day,
   She felt that she must creep,
So silent was the clear cool house,
   It seemed a house of sleep.
And sure, when she pushed open the door,
   Rapt in the stillness there,
Her mother sat, with stooping head,
   Asleep upon a chair;
Fast—fast asleep; her two hands laid
   Loose-folded on her knee,
So that her small unconscious face
   Looked half unreal to be:
So calmly lit with sleep's pale light
   Each feature was; so fair
Her forehead—every trouble was
   Smoothed out beneath her hair.
But though her mind in dream now moved,
   Still seemed her gaze to rest—
From out beneath her fast-sealed lids,
   Above her moving breast—
On Ann; as quite, quite still she stood;
   Yet slumber lay so deep
Even her hands upon her lap
   Seemed saturate with sleep.
And as Ann peeped, a cloudlike dread
   Stole over her, and then,
On stealthy, mouselike feet she trod,
   And tiptoed out again.

This poem is in the public domain.

Walter de la Mare (1873 - 1956) was a British author of diverse talent who wrote everything from horror stories to children's books. Known to family and friends as "Jack," his work tended to focus around the themes of childhood, imagination, and the supernatural. Happily married to a woman ten years his senior, with whom he had four children, Walter spent nearly twenty years working as a bookkeeper before a government pension finally allowed him to fully devote his time to writing. For more information, visit The Walter de la Mare Society website.



Post New Comment:
Marilyn L Taylor:
De la Mare has always been a favorite of mine, ever since I first read his poem "Silver" when I was a small child. He was incredibly skilled, I think. Must point out, though, that he died in 1956-- not in 1856, as shown above.
Posted 07/19/2012 11:59 AM

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