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Portrayal of Buffalo in Poetry

            In both 'The Flower-Fed Buffaloes' and 'Buffalo Bill,' the buffalo are portrayed as delicate, amongst other things. In 'The Flower-Fed Buffaloes,' Vachel Lindsay says 'The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring.' This quote shows that the buffalo are seen to be joyful and resemble new life. If something is flower fed, it would be associated with delicacy, sweetness and happiness. Especially by putting it in the first line, it resonates in the mind of the reader as it isn't what they expect to hear about these vicious creatures known to be violent and murderous. Instead we are hit with quite an alarming and surprising first line which puts buffalo in the same harmfulness category as a cow, not what the reader is particularly expecting. In 'Buffalo Bill,' e e cummings shows the buffalo to be at the mercy of Buffalo Bill, as Buffalo Bill is the epitome of the wild west in that time, it would be wise to assume that as Bill is killing off buffalo, the rest of the wild west is doing the same. This shows that like in 'The Flower Fed Buffalo,' the buffalo are portrayed as fragile or delicate and if the humans do try to harm the buffalo, they would be helpless and merely perish into extinction.
             Another way the buffalo is seen is with respect by the humans. In 'Buffalo' from the Yoruba, Nigeria the buffalo help with the highest regard. 'But who would dare pose on the head of a fallen buffalo, the raging buffalo of the bone-hard horns.' This quote could be taken two ways, one that when one individual buffalo has passed away they respect the life that the buffalo has led as a kind of basic respect showing that though they may be dead, the hunters are still showing it due respect. Or that the entire species of buffalo has died out and that the buffalo are being thanked by the hunters for the life they have provided them. However in 'The Flower-Fed Buffaloes,' humans have overtaken the buffaloes and decided there is no longer a need for them.

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