In The Listeners, what does the poet mean when he writes, "how the silence surged softly backyard?"

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The poet is speaking about the silence that follows after the departure of the mysterious traveler. The man comes to the door, knocking and hoping for a place to stop, along with a loud horse, full of footsteps, chewing grass, and more. His arrival at the house disturbs the spirits...

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The poet is speaking about the silence that follows after the departure of the mysterious traveler. The man comes to the door, knocking and hoping for a place to stop, along with a loud horse, full of footsteps, chewing grass, and more. His arrival at the house disturbs the spirits there who lay in perpetual silence, enjoying the stillness of death, undisturbed by the world.
As the man departs, silence wafts back in from outside, or, as the poet states, it surges because it returns with a strength, acting as a comfort and returning those spirits to their natural state. The phrase the poet uses invokes an idea of silence rushing in, and the spiritual occupants feeling relief at its return, because their eternal slumber was disturbed by the mans arrival.

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An unknown traveler arrives one night at a spooky little cottage on the edge of a forest. He knocks at the door several times, but there is no answer. Inside the cottage a number of spirits listen quietly as the traveler continues to knock, until finally he says:

Tell them I came, and no one answered,   
   That I kept my word 
The traveler turns round, mounts his horse, and rides off into the forest. Now, all is quiet. The man and his horse, interlopers in this silent spirit world, have vanished. And with them, all that earthly noise they made: the horse munching the grass; the traveler knocking hard upon the door; the verbal message delivered by the traveler just before he left. The listening spirits are left to their own devices once more, inhabiting a quiet world undisturbed by the sound and the fury of man. And the traveler retreats to his own world, the world of time and sense, having failed utterly in his quest for meaning.
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