The title "the listeners" is apt as the listeners are the phantoms or the ghost.this poem de vides the two different world i.e the world of the living(the traveller) and the world of the dead(the phantoms).T he poem leaves behind many un answered questions as whether the traveller is aware of that place;if he is than why he don't' know that no body is living there so on and so forth...the traveller 1st time knocks at the door his horse was undisturbed and was munching the grasses or the wild ferns that were growing on the forest floor.As there was no one living there for long so the nature(bird)were not use to the noise made by the traveller so by the knocking the bird flew away from the nest .Then the traveller struck(smote)the door for the 2nd time but nobody came down towards the door(this line indicate that he might know that house as he says that nobody descended:he knew that their were stairs).The trees were growing wildly and not been checked so they were outlining or covering the sill like a fringe(hair cut) covers the forehead,so no body bend or peeped out from there to look for who has come but there was no one but only phantoms who were standing on the stairs and the faint moonlight is falling on them like a spotlight.The traveller doesn't know that there were phantoms but he could feel that some one is there listening his words(cry)The trees seems as if touching the sky(leafy sky).The traveller again smote at the door and looked at sill and said that he has kept his promise(this tells that he knows some one in the house and once had promised to come back)than he climbed back to his horse and the phantoms can hear the traveller climbing on the horse back stepping the stirrup and the sound of the horse's hooves when stike on the stones can be heard.THE TRAVELLER WENT AWAY...
The traveller has come to fulfil a duty. He had left something and promised to come back to it. It seems that a great time has passed. What ever he left behind, he could now not summon. The sleeping group, could not be stirred. He has had communication with the listeners in the past - when the promise was made. The listeners are now sleeping and won't wake. The traveller is searching for the child within, for creativity. It is now gone, he is old, and heads back to the logic-driven reality. One of Walter's main obsessions was with the ingenuity and vision of the child, and how over time, this is lost. In the traveller's journey to revisit or recover this way of existince, he can't stir it. He leaves and re-assures his soul that he tried ("tell them I came, and no one answered"). The listeners (the unbridled imagination) are present, but lie sleeping; discarded and left behind. There is a deathly feel, but it not the death of physical beings, these beings are not "from the world of men".
To me the poem suggests totally different meanings. It is the death who comes in the form of traveller and the phantom listeners are modern people who are spiritually dead and are now phantoms.the bird flies from the turret is the one man who has ben taken away by the call of death.all the rest being spiritually dead cannot pay heed to death's call that is why she say I came but no one replied and suggests that she will keep coming until the last one is taken away.
I think the central theme of the poem is loneliness, which is confirmed in the quote “And how the silence surged softly backward, when the plunging hoofs were gone.” This suggests that the listeners desperately want to hear his voice, and when rejected, they revert back to misery. This could be because they are lonely, and one of the reasons why they listen may be to relieve themselves from this. There could also be a sense of happiness towards them, as it reminds them of their former self. Loneliness is also shown within the horse as “in the silence he chomped the grasses”, and when the "Bird flew up the turret" when the traveller knocks, symbolising rejection from the natural world and his isolation. Other than the fact the traveller promised to go to the listeners, he might have also went as a way to relieve himself from his own loneliness, even though he has his horse.
It has been interpreted by reader with many different meanings. 1st time I read it I thought it was about a man who is a traveler who has gone back to visit his old friend at night but it was really dark and haunted. Lol sorry if this didn't help you because I first read it when I was in year 5!!!
'The Listeners' have adept and important themes for adults, as this is their main audience, such as loneliness of the traveller, the soul of “the listeners”, and the horse, which I think is it's central theme. This leads to rejection of the natural world as the “bird flew up out of the turret” when he knocks, rejection from the listeners, which is ironic as the listeners desperatly want company to relieve themselves of their loneliness, but as they are dead, this is understood. Themes like death and the importance of the soul is also present, as it portrays their soul is present after death. This thus leaves a melancholic tone.
May I suggest..
It is a dream from the moment of waking. When one can slide between dream and sleep but be concoius that you are in dream and also dreaming tof being awake,
The layout of the poem is exaclty as you would experience in a dream, the flow of the story is unbroken, the view point of the story teller flows in three dimensions without problem while failing to recognise the incapable/broken aspects of the story.
The one man left awake is the man at the door and the waking person watching his dream
No head can look over the window cill into his grey eyes as the man is not looking up to the window but a minor technical aspect like that never stops a dream.
The horse is eating from the forest floor which is sensible, but then the dream splits to the man at the front door, by the time we return to the horse the dream has placed it on a grassy area, but after the next round of knocking the dream has moved the chomping horse to being on a stone flagged road (sound of iron on stone )
The thronging of the moonbeams is a clear viewpoint from within the silent building at the exact moment after the knock on the door, the listener is wide awake in his dream inside the building as a pure observer and just as instantly outside again which is how a dream works, If the listener is himself the Traveller outside he would be able to view himself from inside but wouldnt be ` in body` so can only see and listen, but not be `taking part` on the inside, hence his viewpoint and his heartfelt knoweldge that when outside again that nothing stirred inside,oneself is the viewpoint and can switch from watching through ones own eyes or watching from any other viewpoint it wants to, instantly.
My belief is it is a waking dream, remembered and recorded.
There is more then 1 listener and a traveller who has a traveller as a companion
Explain the poem ghost by walter de la mare