traveling through the dark

Title: The title of this poems gives a slight hint to the readers that it will deal with the difficulty of finding the right path.

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.



Stanza 1: One dark night, while he was driving his car through the narrow road, he saw a dead     deer.

Stanza 2: He dragged the dead dear at the edge and when he touched it, he felt like it was not     cold. Also, it felt like her fawn was still alive.

Stanza 3: A baby deer was waiting for it to come out. Since his mother was dead he couldn’t do     anything because he was in the mountain during the night.

Stanza 4: Although the guy wanted to save the fawn, he knew he couldn’t perform such surgery     in the dark mountain road.

Stanza 5: After realizing he had no choice but to save other human lives, he pushes the deer over     to the edge into the river.



Imagery: In stanza one, the descriptions of the narrow canyon road and in stanza three, we,     readers can visualize the warmth of the living fawn.



The poet in this poem is sorrowful towards the fawn and feels guilty that towards his behavior. Poet uses imagery and other literary devices to express these emotions, especially when he emphasizes the car as “aims”and “swerves”. By going through this poem, we can imagine the vivid images of what is going on here.



In Traveling Through the Dark , the shift occurs in stanza one, first line. “traveling through the dark I found a deer” Also, another shift is shown when he found a baby fawn in the deer’s belly on stanza two line four. “I dragged her off; she was large in the belly” Lastly, when the poet finally determines to make his decision of what to do with this deer, there is another shift on stanza five, last two lines. “I though hard for us all–my only swerving–, then pushed her over the edge into the river”



The poet is heading towards his way trying to make a right decision and a wiser choice.



The poem by William Stafford, “Traveling Through the Dark” illustrates readers with somewhat painful and grim. Because of this man-made road, the author is trying to convey his feelings towards the role of technology in modern life.



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