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"The Listeners" by Walter De la Mare is a poem that gains its effects from its mysterious quality; it is a poem that creates an atmosphere of slightly ominous and melancholic mystery rather than recounting a detailed narrative. The unanswered questions add to the poem's atmosphere of mystery.
There are many pieces of missing information in the poem. We do not know the Traveller's name, age, or physical appearance, nor the nature of the promise he made which he kept in visiting the house. We do not know who owned the house, or why it was deserted. We do not know the specific place in which the poem is set other than that its events happen at a remote and deserted house somewhere in a forest.
We learn that the Traveller owns a horse, that he promised to return to the house, and that he does not know whether there are still any people there or not. We also know that he is male.
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