Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Buffalo Poem

Tom McIntyre sends this great Yoruba poem (song?) on Cape Buffalo.

The buffalo is the death
that makes a child climb a thorn tree.
When the buffalo dies in the forest
the head of the household is hiding in the roof.
When the hunter meets the buffalo
he promises never to hunt again.
He will cry out: "I only borrowed the gun!
I only look after it for my friend!"
Little he cares about your hunting medicines:
he carries two knives on his head,
little he cares about your danegun,
he wears the thickest skin.
He is the butterfly of the savannah:
he flies along without touching the grass,
When you hear the thunder without rain˜
it is the buffalo approaching.

"Dane Gun"? A friend of his checked it out:

"It would appear that the danegun was part of the slave trade, perhaps made in Denmark and then carried to Africa to be traded for human cargo, and subsequently put to use to round up more Africans for the plantations of the West Indies and North America (the Danes had an island or two out there). These guns are still around--I found contemporary uses of the word without definitions, including one about a juju to create "poison" gunpowder which would ruin the Danegun. Flints for the Brown Bess are still being manufactured in India to accommodate all of the muskets still floating around, so it wouldnt be too much to assume that Daneguns are still in the hands of folks in Yoruba land.

1 comment:

Chas S. Clifton said...

Float like a butterfly, sting like a . . . buffalo.

Great poem.