Bison (Ode to the American Buffalo) - Poem by Gerard Geiger
Bison (Ode to the American Buffalo)

A beast of burden it is not.
No yoke adorns its crown.
Majestic, and stoic of stature;
master of the open ground.

Lungs heave as bellows,
sending snorts of pleasure and pain
from the massive bearded head
on a thickly carpeted mane.

Forelegs draped with sinews,
to push or pull or run,
carrying the mighty torso
over plains from sun to sun.

Such nobles led great herds,
of millions were their number;
meant to last for time to come,
but not immune to plunder.

For what was ripe in beauty
and lordly in its bearing,
became not a source of food,
but rich robes for the wearing.

Quickly herds were slaughtered.
The meat rotted in the sun.
Few beasts were left remaining
when all was said and done.

What is left is the legacy
of the beast, strong and proud;
for it survived the fashion
and truth now is its shroud.

Gerard A. Geiger April 2, 1986

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