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Traveling Through the Dark by William Stafford

            "Traveling through the Dark" by William Stafford is a story written within a poem. Not only is the poem about a true experience in a very straight forward form, but it contains a deeper meaning. It is one man, one road, and one deer. "Traveling through the Dark" shows the underlying concern of humans and technology entering the wilderness and the effects they have on nature. The title of the poem can be interpreted in several different ways. Literally, throughout the poem the speaker could be walking in the night. Metaphorically, the speaker could be walking through the unknown. Not only does the darkness signify the unknown, but possibly an evil or sinister feeling. My next finding is that Stafford's poem is rather a recent poem, which makes me question why the speaker is traveling. Traveling can be related to a journey or a long voyage set on foot like people did many years ago. It also suggests that the speaker is away from home on a trip or excursion. The word "traveling" can also mean wandering. The speaker could have been out at night simply trying to clear his mind or trying to set things straight. Another denotation of "traveling" is moving on, or moving forward. Is the speaker suffering from a loss or heartache? Maybe he is traveling through the dark looking for a sign of hope, but all he sees is darkness, in other words, pain.
             Already in the first line of the poem I knew where the speaker was, what he was doing and what he has come across; "Traveling through the dark I found a deer" (Stafford 1). The repetition of the title shows that the darkness is significant. Not knowing what is in front of you. The end of the line brought me to my latest conclusion. The speaker is in a world of hurt and he has found hope. Deer are considered to be spirit animals and represent gentleness and innocence, as well as symbolizing strength and determination by having the ability to move through obstacles with elegance.

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