’Twas just a fleeting moment when our journeys crossed,
When you were walking roadside, munching on the moss,
On Christmas, we were driving, dinner on our mind,
To share with friends and fam’ly at that special time.

For just that fleeting moment when our eyes were locked,
It seemed that time stood still then, like there was no clock.
It seemed there was no fear there, nor was there surprise—
Just quiet understanding deep within your eyes.

It was a sacred moment: face-to-face we stood
Amid the peace and beauty, stillness of the wood—
No condos, cars, or buses, shopping malls, or tracks,
But just a patch of nature peeking through the cracks.

And you were in your glory, we just passing by,
The road itself a bound’ry ’tween opposing sides.
But in that fleeting moment, in that wonderland,
We knew we’re all God’s fam’ly, part of His grand plan.

Then Mother Nature snapped her fingers once again,
To break that magic dream we hoped would never end.
You blinked and then you vanished, we went on our way…
And now it’s been a year—yet seems like yesterday.


Connie Phillips is a former English teacher and editor living in Massachusetts.

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8 Responses

  1. Monty

    I was wondering, Connie: in L3, should the word ‘at’ be inserted, as in ‘We were driving at christmas’? Without the ‘at’, I can only read ‘We were driving christmas’ as I would read ‘The cowboys were driving cattle’. Hence, it makes no sense to me.

    I ask the above, ‘cos that may be the very reason why I’m confused over the general narrative. After the 1st stanza, I formed the following impression: “You were driving along at christmas-time; and you saw a Deer walking on the side of the road” (with that impression formed, I was immediately confused in L5 with “Our eyes were locked”; as in, how can one lock eyes with a Deer when driving past it?).

    But in the 3rd stanza, you say: “We were stood face-to-face in the stillness of the wood . . no cars”.

    Hence, Stanza 1 suggests you drove past a Deer; and stanza 3 suggests you were walking in the woods, and chanced upon a Deer.

    Am I missing something which is blindingly obvious to you and others?

    • connie phillips

      Thanks, Monty. I appreciate your comment. Hopefully, line 3 is a little clearer!

      • Monty

        Line 3 is now perfectly clear, Connie; but I’m still totally dozzled as to how you go from the 1st stanza of “driving past a Deer which was walking on the roadside” . . . straight into “our eyes were locked as we stood face-to-face in the stillness of the wood”.

        Thus, I must repeat my above question: Did you drive past the Deer . . or did you encounter it whilst walking in the wood? The poem, as I see it, implies both; but it can only be one or the other! Which one?

  2. David Paul Behrens

    I have also had the experience of driving on a road through a wooded area and spotting a deer that wandered too close to the road, and then vanished. Your poem perfectly describes such a situation.

    It’s a good poem. Thank you.

  3. E. V.

    Connie, with your words, you’ve painted a tranquil portrait. From now on, whenever I see deer on the side of a winding country lane, I’ll think of your poem. Please share more of your poems with SCP!

  4. Monty

    Well, after reading further Comments, I deduce that there can only be one of two things happening here: a/ I’m totally mis-reading the whole thing (and continually embarrassing myself in the process).. b/ Others can see it as I do; but I’m the only one prepared to say so.

    Did no one notice the word “stood” in the poem? If not, have a look; and keep it in mind, ‘cos it’s central to what I’m gonna say . .
    . . I can see two different poems: a/ The 1st stanza is a short poem within itself about driving past a Deer (which was on the side of the road) whilst on the way home to crimbo dinner.
    b/ The 2nd stanza is the start of a different poem about an encounter with a Deer whilst walking through the woods; during which – for a fleeting moment – one was stood face-to-face with the Deer.. eyes locked.

    One Commenter above said that he’s “also” had the experience of spotting a Deer whilst driving (him and hundreds-of-millions of others, one imagines) . . so he must see the poem only as concerning the act in the 1st stanza: driving past a Deer. At that juncture, he obviously formed the assumption that this was the subject of the poem. Which might explain why he may’ve missed the word “stood” in the 3rd stanza. STOOD! “Stood in the stillness of the wood.” Not sat in a car, driving past the Deer . . but STOOD on human feet!
    So where and how did we go from driving past a Deer on the side of the road . . to being STOOD facing a Deer in the wood? See? There’s no mention in the poem of: We drove past a Deer; so we stopped the car, got out, walked into the wood.. and there we saw the Deer. It just jumps from one to the other.

    Another Commenter states that “From now on, whenever she sees Deer on the side of a (winding?) country-lane, she’ll think of your poem”. So she also must see the subject of the poem as driving past a Deer. Hence, the “tranquil portrait” to which she refers can only be a portrait of driving past a Deer.

    I’m finished here; I’ll say no more on the matter. I’ll leave you’s all to it, to make of it what you’s will (or already have).

    p.s. As a delightful little aside: Imagine, if you can, that the 1st stanza doesn’t exist; go straight to the 2nd stanza and, hypothetically, imagine that to be the opening stanza of a poem about a Deer encounter whilst walking in the woods, and carry on reading . . . It stands as a lovely, poignant poem in its own right – in concept and in the execution of the concept. It puts so much power and feeling into what may’ve been only an 8-second moment when their ‘eyes were locked’.
    And – for a poem describing a Deer encounter whilst walking in the wood – how perfect the first-line of the poem would be: “For just that fleeting moment when our eyes were locked/time stood still..” . . how’s that for bringing the reader instantly into the heart of the poem’s subject; instantly into the moment?
    If I was writing such a poem, I’d give my little-finger for that opening line!

    • E. V.

      Monty, pick your whimsy. For most people (who don’t live near country lanes where deer randomly appear) such a beautiful encounter would require a vehicle. Perhaps people who live in more rural areas are more open to an interpretation similar to yours. (Note: it is possible to “stand” while driving; think of “No Standing” signs.) You are correct in that without a vehicle separating the person from the deer, the encounter would be more intimate. Ultimately only the poet (Connie Phillips) can satisfy your curiousity by clarifying her intentions. I believe a poetic element is added to work where the writer leaves some room for the reader’s interpretation.
      What do you think?

      • Monty

        What do I think? I think the same now as I did when I ended my last Comment . . that I’ve got no more to say on the matter.

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