Walter de la Mare, despite his aristocratic name and unlike many of the Georgians and 30s poets, did not come from the privileged classes. He worked for nearly twenty years as a clerk in the London office of an oil company and it was not until he was almost forty that he attempted to live by his pen. He drew and kept a growing readership who found his verse unaffected by fashion. King George V came to be among his admirers and de la Mare was granted a Civil List pension, made a Companion of Honour and ultimately received the Order of Merit. His poem The Listeners remains a great favourite of school anthologies and has an arresting close almost like a Zen koan.
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