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Scary Poems

Table of Contents

  1. At Home by Emily Dickinson
  2. Strange Tree by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  3. In the Night by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  4. The Listeners by Walter de la Mare

  1. At Home

    by Emily Dickinson

    The night was wide, and furnished scant
    With but a single star,
    That often as a cloud it met
    Blew out itself for fear.

    The wind pursued the little bush,
    And drove away the leaves
    November left; then clambered up
    And fretted in the eaves.

    No squirrel went abroad;
    A dog's belated feet
    Like intermittent plush were heard
    Adown the empty street.

    To feel if blinds be fast,
    And closer to the fire
    Her little rocking-chair to draw,
    And shiver for the poor,

    The housewife's gentle task.
    "How pleasanter," said she
    Unto the sofa opposite,
    "The sleet than May — no thee!"

  2. Strange Tree

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    Away beyond the Jarboe house
    I saw a different kind of tree.
    Its trunk was old and large and bent,
    And I could feel it look at me.

    The road was going on and on
    Beyond to reach some other place.
    I saw a tree that looked at me,
    And yet it did not have a face.

    It looked at me with all its limbs;
    It looked at me with all its bark.
    The yellow wrinkles on its sides
    Were bent and dark.

    And then I ran to get away,
    But when I stopped to turn and see,
    The tree was bending to the side
    And leaning out to look at me.

  3. In the Night

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    The light was burning very dim,
    The little blaze was brown and red,
    And I waked just in time to see
    A panther going under the bed.

    I saw him crowd his body down
    To make it fit the little space.
    I saw the streaks along his back,
    And bloody bubbles on his face.

    Long marks of light came out of my eyes
    And went into the lamp—and there
    Was Something waiting in the room-
    I saw it sitting on a chair.

    Its only eye was shining red,
    Its face was very long and gray,
    Its two bent teeth were sticking out,
    And all its jaw was torn away.

    Its legs were flat against the chair,
    Its arms were hanging like a swing.
    It made its eye look into me,
    But did not move or say a thing.

    I tried to call and tried to scream,
    But all my throat was shut and dry.
    My little heart was jumping fast,
    I couldn't talk or cry.

    And when I'd look outside the bed
    I'd see the panther going in.
    The streaks were moving on his back,
    The bubbles on his chin.

    I couldn't help it if they came,
    I couldn't save myself at all,
    And so I only waited there
    And turned my face against the wall.

  4. The Listeners

    by Walter de la Mare

    ‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
    Knocking on the moonlit door;
    And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
    Of the forest’s ferny floor:
    And a bird flew up out of the turret,
    Above the Traveller’s head:
    And he smote upon the door again a second time;
    ‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
    But no one descended to the Traveller;
    No head from the leaf-fringed sill
    Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
    Where he stood perplexed and still.
    But only a host of phantom listeners
    That dwelt in the lone house then
    Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
    To that voice from the world of men:
    Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
    That goes down to the empty hall,
    Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
    By the lonely Traveller’s call.
    And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
    Their stillness answering his cry,
    While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
    ’Neath the starred and leafy sky;
    For he suddenly smote on the door, even
    Louder, and lifted his head:—
    ‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
    That I kept my word,’ he said.
    Never the least stir made the listeners,
    Though every word he spake
    Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
    From the one man left awake:
    Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
    And the sound of iron on stone,
    And how the silence surged softly backward,
    When the plunging hoofs were gone.

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