The Flower fed buffaloes final

The Flower-Fed Buffaloes
By Vachel Lindsay
• An American poet.
• He was born on the 10th
November 1879 in Illinois,
• He is considered the father
of modern singing poetry–
verses are meant to be sung
or chanted.
• He often sold his poetry on
the streets in exchange for
• His poetry was known for
its experimentation with
sound .
Background to the Poem
• The population of buffaloes have significantly reduced over
the years.
• Originally there were about 30-75 million buffaloes
roaming around, but they were reduced to only 300 during
Lindsay’s time.
• As a result of the railroad building, there was a new found
sport of shooting them from the windows of the moving
• Blackfeet and Pawnees are two types of American native
tribes, who alongside the buffaloes, have been driven to
the brink of extinction.
• They died due to diseases such as smallpox and cholera,
but most were hunted by traditional enemies.
• The poem can be interpreted in different ways. For one
the poem can be about the the destruction of nature
by modernization, like the construction of the railroad
has disrupted the beauty of nature causing it to slowly
die out.
• On the other hand the poem can be seen as describing
a change. In the case of the flowers, lying low could be
a sign of the seeds waiting to spring back.
• The poem also has the theme of not only nature and
change but also machinery as the “locomotives sing”
and the “ wheels and wheels and wheels” spin by.
The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring
In the days of long ago,
Ranged where the locomotives sing
And the prairie flowers lie low:—
The tossing, blooming, perfumed grass
Is swept away by the wheat,
Wheels and wheels and wheels spin by
In the spring that still is sweet.
But the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring
Left us, long ago.
They gore no more, they bellow no more,
They trundle around the hills no more:—
With the Blackfeet, lying low,
With the Pawnees, lying low,
Lying low.
Literary devices used
• “Ranged where the locomotives sing”
The personification of the trains creates a
melodious and pleasant tone to the first few
lines of the poem. The word ‘singing’ shows that
there was a balance of nature between humans
and buffaloes.
• “tossing, blooming, perfumed grass”
The poet describes the grass as something which is sweet
smelling, which is further changed into “wheat”.
Through imagery, he brings the place to life. By using a
sense of smell, Lindsay involves the readers more
effectively. He creates a nostalgic tone to the poem.
The grass which was previously described to be sweetly
scented has been “swept away” into something odorless:
wheat. Lindsay illustrates this transformation as
something inevitable as nature’s beauty can no longer be
restored after modernization.
• “wheels and wheels and wheels”
Emphasizes how often the railroad is being used, how often
trains go by. It also gives us an image of how much the quiet
prairie has changed since the buffaloes roamed free.
• “They gore no more, they bellow no more , They trundle
around the hills no more”
This can be seen throughout the last few lines of the poem.
Lindsay does this to highlight the buffaloes’ extinction and
making it stand out to the readers. The buffaloes “gore”,
“bellow” and “trundle” no more. All these actions are all lively
movements of the buffaloes. With the repetition of “no
more”, it emphasizes how the buffaloes are no longer alive.
• “Lying low”
Also a repetition. This is repeated thrice over the
last tree lines. The repetition creates a very
threatened tone to the ending. It would mean that
along with the buffaloes, these two tribes will also
be extinct as an effect of urbanization. The
repetition conveys that if modernization does not
stop, more elements of nature will face the same
fate as the buffaloes.
Main ideas
• Lindsay gives the poem an edge that makes it
feel realistic. With the smell of the prairie
grass, the sight of the lumbering buffaloes,
and the sound of the train wheels singing he
bring the place to life.
• 'The days of long ago' adds to the uniqueness
to the poem as it suggests a mythical time,
when in reality it was less than 150 years ago.
Links to other poems
• The poem can be linked to Time by Allen
Curnow because both poets use literary
devices to bring the places in their poems to
• For example “Perfumed grass” in Flower-fed
Buffaloes and “the smell of machine” in Time.
• The poem can also be linked to Report to
Wordsworth by Boey Kim Cheng in a sense
that both poems talk about nature how it is
changing/ dying.
• For example “prairie flowers lie low” in
Flower-Fed Buffaloes and “the flowers are
mute” in Report to Wordsworth.
• It can be linked to Lament as well because
both of them are in a way about destruction
of Nature and Lament being about the Gulf
was talks about animal life.
• Example “ for the hook-beaked turtles”, “ the
dugong and dolphin” in Lament and “ the
Flower-fed buffaloes of the spring” in Flower
fed buffaloes.

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