"The Buck in the Snow" is a poem by American poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay, first published in a collection of the same title in 1928. In the poem, the speaker recalls seeing a strong, vivacious-looking a buck and doe—a male and female deer—earlier in the evening, only to then be confronted with the buck's body lying dead in the snow. The poem is about the fragility and unpredictability of life.
White sky, over ...
... in the apple-orchard?
I saw them. ...
... bowed with snow.
Now lies he ... scalding the snow.
How strange a ...
... in the snow.
How strange a ...
... feather of snow—
Life, looking out ... of the doe.
Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.
A Musical Adaptation — Listen to a musical adaptation of the entire poem.
The Poem Out Loud — Listen to a reading of the entire poem.
Millay's Biography — Read more about Millay's life, courtesy of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society.
Millay's Legacy — Read about the ways in which Millay and her work are perceived today.
A Poet's Lecture on Millay — Listen to renowned poet Eavan Boland read aloud and lecture on the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay.
1White sky, over the hemlocks bowed with snow,
2Saw you not at the beginning of evening the antlered buck and his doe
3Standing in the apple-orchard? I saw them. I saw them suddenly go,
4Tails up, with long leaps lovely and slow,
5Over the stone-wall into the wood of hemlocks bowed with snow.
6Now lies he here, his wild blood scalding the snow.
7How strange a thing is death, bringing to his knees, bringing to his antlers
8The buck in the snow.
9How strange a thing,—a mile away by now, it may be,
10Under the heavy hemlocks that as the moments pass
11Shift their loads a little, letting fall a feather of snow—
12Life, looking out attentive from the eyes of the doe.