Friday, June 09, 2006

Spirit of the Great Buffalo

The Great Buffalo

The prairie shakes, relaxed greens
and driftwood browns part as they pass
or falter under hoof. Herd traces
pond's path, fragrant flame from many
strides upwind pulls their noses aft-
No fear- no hunt in the west wind.

Invocations rise up, carry me,
kin to man, like a king
on his Royal Stallion. Their
hearts pulse for me,
chants embrace me
dum da-dum-dum dum dum
The hunt is on.

But I remain silent.

We flee and we fight
fear pushing, pulling, but only in
body as Spirit is soothed through
devotional dance and earned respect
for our sinew and meat
our bladder and hide
our bones and our liver
our hair and our dung.

Seduced not but soothed, our spirit
still smiles though bison-bone spear
points pierce buffalo hide.

The prairie shakes, the bison die.

dum da-dum-dum dum dum
Their hearts embrace me
Chants pulse for me.


Don Iannone said...

Very powerful and lovely, Mike. I have always had a feel for the Native world and of course the buffalo are integral to that world. Thank you for this poetic gift and the reminder of what the buffalo teachers.

I developed a visualization meditation using the Native American medicine wheel. Very beneficial for me in maintaining balance and opening to the diverse energies of the universe.

Mike said...

Thanks Don! This was inspired by a friend of mine who travelled to Mount Rushmore and was telling me about all she learned about the buffalo, and her experiences seeing them roaming. Great idea to use the medicine wheel in your medition!

Don Iannone said...


The medicine wheel is a powerful ceremony in the Native world. Perhaps I will post something on my blog about the meditation.

Mike said...

I hope you do decide to post on your blog about the meditation you developed! I look forward to reading about it.

jim said...

A left-over reminder of a reality bigger than any of our natural lives today. I saw herds roam, felt the spirit rise from them and ride the herd, like a dusty mist over a quaking earth, pounding hard and unstoppable, downright scary. But beautiful and majestic, magnificent and absolutely real.

Mike said...

Jim: Thanks for the comment. I have never had the pleasure of seeing such power in person—but just the thought of the buffalo, and the wonderful connection and utmost respect for them by the Native Americans is almost indescribable.

Crunchy Weta said...

So much is being lost to the world. What did you mean by "But I remain silent"? I sort of get silent in respect for them and what they provide, silent because you are doing nothing to assist them?

Erin Monahan said...

The native american heritage feel of this is very rich, and very enjoyable. Thanks for the great read.

Mike said...

Glenn: The speaker in the poem is the spirit of the buffalo, who is also one with the buffalo (which is implied in the phrasing in some of the stanzas). So when I wrote "But I remain silent" it was the spirit remaining silent, not relaying its knowledge of the beginning of the hunt to the buffalo as a herd, because of the sacred "agreement" between the Native Americans and the buffalo, the respect the Native Americans show for the buffalo, and the gift of the buffalo of their entire selves to the Native Americans. Thank you for the comment!

Erin: Thanks! I"m glad you enjoyed it.

Scheherazade said...

"Seduced not but soothed, our spirit
still smiles though bison-bone spear
points pierce buffalo hide"

my favorite lines of your tribute.
a lesson in surrender, and peace, even at the darkest moments. oh to keep that smiling spirit even when others are tearing us apart...

it'a a gift really

thanks mike

rch said...

Hello Mike, I like this poem and appreciate how you have shown the respect that was/is paid to the buffalo by native americans. Very powerful! Take care,


Mike said...

Y: Thanks for stopping by! As always, I appreciate the comments!

Bob: Thanks!