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Day 299: Traveling Through the Dark

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The shoulder is still pretty bad, so I didn't (and can't) spend a lot of time typing. I sorted some files on the computer, and came across a poem I'd copied years ago:

TRAVELING THROUGH THE DARK
by William E 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.

* * *

I know - it's bleak, and harsh, and cruel. And yet... I've always found something oddly comforting in it. We're all just traveling through the dark, after all, and it is that oneness, that connection, that reaches me through the poem much more than does the sad imagery.

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are...


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