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Dead deer
Posted by: JustJack (
Date: July 13, 2005 11:42PM


I read a poem here sometime back (USP?).
I don't recall the author, but the subject was a doe that had been hit by a car.
I seem to recall that it was at night on a twisting mountain road. The person stops to check on the deer, notices it has a swollen belly, and feels sorry for the unborn fawn inside. In the end the person rolls the deer over the edge (into water?). Any help would be appreciated.


Re: Dead deer
Posted by: J.H.SUMMERS (
Date: July 14, 2005 06:20AM

Hi Jack,

The poem is by William Stafford,

Travelling Through the Dark

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.

This is one of my favorites.


Re: Dead deer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: July 14, 2005 12:26PM

Great poem, where have you been Jack? Not lurking again, I hope.


Re: Dead deer
Posted by: JustJack (
Date: July 14, 2005 02:53PM

Many thanks John.

Les, yeah, just lurking.
There was a poem in the current issue of 'Poetry' magazine. If it is not word-for-word it's damn close. Submitted by a Loren Goodman (copyright 2005). You know more about the real names of people who post here. Does this ring a bell? I could swear I read this HERE 1 1/2 - 2 years ago.


Re: Dead deer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: July 14, 2005 04:01PM

I will search for it Jack, good to have you around, even if it is just a hunting expedition.


Re: Dead deer
Posted by: cherrytreeinspring (
Date: July 14, 2005 04:45PM

You like hunting expaditions I know the best.If you will ever find them on the long discovery hike up through the mountian very tops.Or youll always be at the bottom going around it not over it.Praising and hoping for the dear at the peak.

Re: Dead deer
Posted by: JustJack (
Date: July 14, 2005 05:04PM


I think you misunderstood. John found it first try. This is it.
Now that I have a direct quote, I did a search and see that it was mentioned here 12/20/01 and 9/12/03. I'm just wondering how this (or something JUST like it) found its way into 'Poetry' under another name with a 2005 copyright.


Re: Dead deer
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: July 14, 2005 05:53PM

I would guess plagiarism on the part of the writer and laziness on the part of the editor. According to the William Stafford Archive, [], the book titled Traveling in the Dark was published in 1962.



Re: Dead deer
Posted by: J.H.SUMMERS (
Date: July 14, 2005 07:45PM


I'm glad I could help. If you have a link where I can read Goodman's please post it. I can't find it anywhere. I first read Stafford's in an anthology I have called Contemporary American Poetry.


Re: Dead deer
Posted by: JustJack (
Date: July 14, 2005 09:55PM

I get it now.
False alarm everybody.
This month was the 'Humor' edition.
When I called my friend (who has the magazine in question), she read it to me.
The last line reads "... then pushed myself over the edge."
Yeah, that's humor.
Nuff said.


Re: Dead deer
Posted by: Marty (
Date: July 15, 2005 12:05AM

I was hoping that the push into the river had something to do with delivering the that method of giving birth in the water.


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