Friday, January 23, 2009

The Buck in the Snow by Edna St. Vincent Millay

"The Buck in the Snow" is a crisp, powerful poem.  Millay briefly personifies the sky and the trees, but she leans almost entirely on clear imagery and music to create the poem's impact.  The repeated O sounds call up the long lovely leaps of the deer. And notice the effect when she finally interrupts the rhyme scheme.


The Buck in the Snow

White sky, over the hemlocks bowed with snow,
Saw you not at the beginning of evening the antlered buck and his doe
Standing in the apple-orchard?  I saw them.  I saw them suddenly go,
Tails up, with long leaps lovely and slow,
Over the stone-wall into the wood of hemlocks bowed with snow.

Now he lies here, his wild blood scalding the snow.

How strange a thing is death, bringing to his knees, bringing to his antlers
The buck in the snow.
How strange a thing--a mile away by now, it may be,
Under the heavy hemlocks that as the moments pass
Shift their loads a little, letting fall a feather of snow--
Life, looking out attentive from the eyes of the doe.



You might also enjoy "First Fig"


Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, ME in 1892. Her fourth book of poetry, The Harp Weaver, earned her the Pulitzer Prize. 

13 Comments:

Anonymous Beth Partin said...

"...his wild blood scalding the snow."

Thanks, beautiful poem.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

She was one of the first women poets I discovered when I was a girl. This is amazing.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Emski said...

Your blog is a wonderful discovery.
I haven't read much poetry since I graduated 4 years ago, but this is a great place to dive in again!

This week's has some really striking imagery - Beth Partin, that line is stunning isn't it?

5:33 AM  
Blogger Miranda said...

I love Edna St. Vincent Millay. I too discovered her as a young girl. She spoke to me then and still does. I found this site by doing a search for "The Buck...." because it came to mind with all the snow we just got. I think I will follow this site now because I'm always looking for new poems.
Thanks for posting.

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11:29 AM  
Blogger Gretchen Joanna said...

Thank you for writing this blog! Do you know "Deer" by John Drinkwater? It is one of my favorites.
I love deer, and I hadn't read this poem before.

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