A Dead Deer Reminds Me of William Blake

A Dead Deer Reminds Me of William Blake
She hit it before she had time
to swerve or stomp on the brakes—
the deer wide-eyed in the windshield,
then stretched out on the roadside
as if placed there on purpose.
A tan and white mound of once-life
now dying, the round red intestines
exposed on the grass still
digesting the last meal of clover.
While the deer stubbornly died
she trembled at the curb
in helpless sorrow and cried,
and I couldn’t help but think that her tears
were proof that sometimes we can
even comprehend Blake:
Every thing that lives is Holy.
But what about the dead? Blake again:
If thou art the food of worms,
how great thy blessing!
A day later the buzzards gathered,

nodding bald heads in agreement.

Last October I wrote my first poem for dVerse, a marvelous online poetic community. It happened to be a Meeting the Bar prompt. So imagine my happiness to find that for tonight’s Meeting the Bar Tony Maude has invited us to choose a prompt from the previous year to use as inspiration for a poem. I blended a few prompts together for this one–obviously, Victoria’s Literary Allusion prompt. And Anna’s prompt, The Unfathomable, which I didn’t have opportunity to write for the first time around. One might also judge this poem as an example of Anna’s High/Low Art prompt. At any rate, while it’s been a fun year, I wish I could have been more consistent. A poet’s family cannot live by words alone!

34 thoughts on “A Dead Deer Reminds Me of William Blake

  1. I liked your poem, Nico. I do agree with Blake that everything that lives is holy. It would be so hard to hit a deer and watch it die. That would stay with me forever. Yes, I know the balance of nature…the buzzards will eat now, but I would prefer they feast on something out in the wild that lived a full life before passing, rather than a deer hit on the highway. And I won't even think about worms!


  2. it is sad…i hate to see the dead animals…just trying to follow the trails we have paved over sticking them out of the way…a moving piece…human…and then nature reuses…hey it would be a blessing if i am food at least for the worms…smiles.


  3. What a powerful, touching write, Nico. I love how you tied Blake into it…both in the aspect of living and dying. It pains me to see death, but the transience lends a certain beauty to life, doesn't it.


  4. Its hard to see those animals die by the roadside ~ Your quotes reverberates – Every thing that lives is Holy.

    Lovely to see you Nico ~ Happy weekend ~


  5. oh heck…i can imagine how tough it must have been – i surely would've cried as well – my husband hit a smaller animal on the highway once in the pitch dark and he didn't even really see what it was but he had a hard time digesting it – very vivid nico and love the close as well


  6. Thanks Mary–the strange emotions surrounding death have always interested me. We know death is necessary, inevitable, sometimes (in the case of prolonged suffering, for instance) a mercy, but we still pity the dead. Also interesting is the fact that without dead animals the buzzards would starve–yet we find it harder to find as much compassion for bald buzzards as we do for furry deer!


  7. Thanks Brian–with fewer and fewer people hunting deer nowadays, I am seeing more dead ones on the road. Our developments have driven out natural predators; we don't manage the wildlife with hunting as in the past; we get to see the results of overpopulation right beside the roads.


  8. Thanks Katie–it's a wonder more squirrels aren't hit by cars. They run into the road, see this large object moving quickly toward them, and . . . their little brains just seem to scramble.


  9. Very interesting poem overlayed with aspiritual dimension … so much of your work has this.Death and suffering. It is awful to watch suffering first hand..Presents an interesting moral dilemma. Should one allow a creature to die an agonising death or should one be merciful and kill it outright .?


  10. Thanks Claudia–when my dad was younger he had a convertible. He came around a bend on a mountain road and hit a mule, which promptly did a somersault into the back seat. They had to hire a small crane to remove it!


  11. Thanks Tony–great choice for an anniversary prompt, allowing us to revisit the past. Yeah, deer can really do some damage. Surprisingly, the deer bounced off her bumper and barely made a mark.


  12. Awesome combo of prompts Nico. This reminds me of a story about my brother when he was little. He and my uncle were in my uncle's truck and hit a deer, hard enough to kill it, but not immediately. My uncle was impressed that my brother asked him if he would go ahead and shoot the deer, so that the deer wouldn't suffer. (we were the “city kids” in our family.)

    I also like the connection to Blake. Usually the most aware I am of Blake is a grinning tyger in the back of my brain, so it's nice to be reminded of the other cool stuff.


  13. I am not so familiar with the prompts, Nico, but this is a lovely poem. Thankfully, I've not hit a deer, but I've seen terrible scenes – once my husband had to kill one that someone else had hit – it is so tragic. One is reminded of one's connection to all beings, something Blake so beautifully illustrates – wonderful reference. k. (This is http://manicddaily.wordpress.com.) k.


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