The first thing that catches the attention when reading both of the poems is the commonness of their topic. Having different endings both poems present a poetic hero who faced the choice of what to do with the animal. In my opinion the both of the authors demonstrated the situation when a human being was superior to another living creature and life or death of that creature was in the persons hand. It seams that this situation is able to demonstrate the character of the person in the best way. At the same time the stories are rather different.
‘Traveling through the dark’
In Stafford’s "Traveling through the Dark" the author tells the story of a man who was driving his car on the narrow mountain road and saw a deer who became a victim of the unfortunate accident. He knew that it was best to drop be body into the river since it could have caused more victims due to the narrowness of the road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
However, examining the body he found that the deer was pregnant and that the fawn was still alive. While the mother was dead and almost cold it was hard to think of the way how to help that poor creature.
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.
The author then, putts in the description of that moment of hesitation and decision-making, which would also be found in the next poem.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.
An then just in one line he describes the resolution of that hesitation. The words “then pushed her over the edge into the river” finalize the poem. This final creates an interesting emotional effect. It doesn’t give the reader any explanation of the reasons why the character did what he did but rather makes the reader face the fact and judge the doing of the poet’s hero according to their own moral, views on the world and image of the situation that the hero had to face.
As for me, I was a bit surprised by the decision the lyrical hero came to, however, thinking about it later on I came to the conclusion, that despite the fact that fawn was still alive there were no chances of saving it and in the end of the day it didn’t matter whether it would die in the water of the river and the possible danger would be prevented or it will die soon after the death of its mother and possibly cause another death.
Some similarities to the Stafford’s poem can be found in "The Fish" by Elizabeth Bishop. She depicts the view of the fish that was caught and was an amazing creature. “A tremendous fish” is described accurately and with many bright details that give the reader an idea how the fisher admired the creature.
Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age
The author dedicates the greater part of the poem to the description of the fish making it the bright and detail picture that is enforced by different epithets. The description of the suffering that the fish goes through is also included, however it doesn’t really care any emotions and as the result doesn’t appeal to any of the reader’s emotions. Here author uses the same tool that Stanford does. However, the description here is the basic element of the plot and the turning point of the poem lies also within that description.
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
Without openly expressing any thoughts the author leads the description from this point to the final decision. Through the description she depicts all the emotions and respect that built inside of the fisher. Again, the picture of the nature around the boat and of some other details are prior to the final decision:
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels–until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And then, as it happened in the “Traveling through the dark” the decision is described in one final line “And I let the fish go”. And again, the author lives us with the final decision and in search of reasons and motives that contributed to this decision.
In this case I expected that the situation would resolve in this way. To the great extend it was obvious and radiated through the descriptions the author used.
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