Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 11: Close Encounter, William Stafford, "Traveling through the Dark"

Last day for William Stafford poems, and I've save the best for last.  It's not just one of my favorite William Stafford poems.  It's one of my favorite poems, period.  I think I love it so much because it could easily be a U. P. poem.  It's about a close encounter between a car and a deer. 

In my life, I've had one such encounter, but it was a good one.  I totaled my Sable, and the deer ran off.  I'm sure that it was severely injured, but it was strong enough to gallop into the trees.  I'd just made the last payment on my car, so I was happily debt-free for about a week.

That's one of the joys of living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

Saint Marty got a new car out of the deal, and a five-year car loan.

Traveling through the Dark

by:  William Stafford

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.

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