Those poems are all at the beginning of the book, and after them the poems degenerate into unequal attempts to catch the evocative spirit.Well, I have just started reading Imagination of the Heart, Theresa Whistler's biography of de la Mare. I have also been reading the Collected Poems, just dipping into it at random. I just came upon this one, far into the book:
For All The Grief
For all the grief I have given with words
May now a few clear flowers blow,
In the dust, and the heat, and the silence of birds,
Where the lonely go.
For the thing unsaid that heart asked of me
Be a dark, cool water calling - calling
To the footsore, benighted, solitary,
When the shadows are falling.
O, be beauty for all my blindness,
A moon in the air where the weary wend,
And dews burdened with loving-kindness
In the dark of the end.
I see no diminution of quality in that.
My fellow de la Mare fan, Stephen Pentz, in a recent post had much to say of de la Mare (it's what prompted me to get Whistler's biography.) Here is that post: Awake. And here is something from it:
In the year prior to his death, he said to a visitor: "My days are getting shorter. But there is more and more magic. More than in all poetry. Everything is increasingly wonderful and beautiful."
But, as they say, read the whole thing.