"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
- Walter de la Mare, The Listeners
'Tell them I kept my word,' he said
As the storm clouds gathered overhead
With the setting sun tainting them red
'Tell them I came, as was my right
But the locked Great Hall was shuttered tight
And the echoes mocked in the fading light
He rested his head on the deep grained wood
The sunset glowed on his travel stained hood
'Tell them I came as I said I would.'
'Tell them I travelled over the seas
Across the great rivers and under the trees
But I kept my word and I held the keys'
A raven cawed in a twiggy nest
The wind was rising in the west
'Tell them, say that I did my best.'
'I saw strange stars and stranger skies.'
But he listened in vain for the listeners sighs
'I kept my word, all else is lies.'
At the edge of the sky the thunder growled
And the rising wind wept soft then howled
At the dead Great Hall the traveller prowled
'I kept my oath and now am free
I no longer approach on bended knee.'
He opened his hand and dropped the key
It seemed like no stroke of luck or chance
That the heavens threw down their fiery lance
As he rode away with no backward glance.
He felt the heat hard on his back
The Great Hall flamed from the lightning's crack
But he still rode on down the weedy track.
I seriously recommend the original, and you can read it here