Thursday, July 18, 2013

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 comments:

  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!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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!

      Delete
  2. Great poem, Nico. I'm so glad you are part of dVerse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laurie--I've really enjoyed my time at dVerse. Here's to another successful year!

      Delete
  3. 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
  4. 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Victoria--yeah, if we lived here forever life wouldn't seem so special.

      Blake is never far from my thoughts!

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Thanks MZ, I'm glad you enjoyed.

      Delete
  6. This is so good...I love your capture of such a scene. Enjoyed your process notes as well. Great work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jennifer--true story, only slightly altered for artistic purposes!

      Delete
  7. Great poem!! I hit my first animal yesterday (after 12 years of driving), a little squirrel!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
  8. Heartbreaking and beautiful, so vivid and surreal too. Beautifully written as always.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 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 ~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Grace--happy weekend to you as well.

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. Thanks Susan--these two contraries are always found together.

      Delete
  11. Sad but with a circle of life resolution using Blake to drive it forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bjorn--Blake is great inspiration!

      Delete
  12. 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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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!

      Delete
  13. 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 .?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cress--death and suffering. What else is a poet to write about?!! Moral dilemmas are great fun, aren't they?

      Delete
    2. They are great fun to discuss..Let me know when you have a spare couple of hours LOL

      Delete
  14. Nico, this is indeed holy -- our final destination as compost, to nurture life. This is beautiful, and well executed.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Powerful writing, Nico, about an awful moment. I was relieved that she was able to cry. Not everyone who hits a deer is so lucky ...

    Clever combination of prompts too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
  16. 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Heidi--Blake has so much cool stuff to explore!

      Delete
  17. 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.

    ReplyDelete