Traveling Through The Dark Poem by William Stafford

Traveling Through The Dark

Rating: 4.2


Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason--
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all--my only swerving--,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Kadeja Bailey 24 January 2010

the speaker is having a moral dilema the poem is about nature and death and the sadness that comes with it

24 26 Reply
Greg Hutchinson 18 September 2005

This is a very fine sonnet. Its 7 out of 10 'user rating' is a reflection on the readers, not the poem. I wonder how many readers even recognized that it is a sonnet. The half-rhymes and loose iambic give it a prosy surface without sacrificing the rhythm, which is perfect. Take the last line: 'Then pushed her over the edge into the river, ' exactly echoes the sense - with the first cluster of stressed syllables suggesting the pushing and the last, rushing syllables suggesting the release and fall. By the way, I wonder why the order to choose a number wasn't accompanied by any number. I couldn't vote! I'd have given it a 10.

13 34 Reply
Candace Johnson 14 October 2009

That is sooo sad. Why couldn't he save it? ?

8 36 Reply
Carolyn Dimmick 06 September 2008

It is very well written, but very sad. Were it I, I would have saved the yet unborn

14 28 Reply
David Rogers 04 April 2006

Dude, it's not a sonnet. Sonnets have fourteen lines.

15 26 Reply
Savita Tyagi 06 December 2021

So so sad!

0 0 Reply
Mahtab Bangalee 03 February 2020

I thought hard for us all- my only swerving- , then pushed her over the edge into the river. // beautiful poem penned

0 0 Reply
Younger dankboi 24 May 2018

Just terrible, worst poem I ever read.

1 8 Reply
Older dankboi 24 May 2018

It sucked my dic. That is how bad it was

3 9 Reply
Alison Vargas 27 November 2017

Amazing poem I love it

3 2 Reply
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