The Flower-Fed Buffaloes is a slow and rhythmic poem, which uses many aural effects, emotive language and techniques to create a powerful lament on the destruction of the world. Lindsay often portrays the destruction with scenes from the American ‘Wild West’.
Lindsay writes, “Ranged where the locomotives sing and the prairie flowers lie low”. Here he uses personification to project the image of locomotives singing in triumph, after driving the prairie flowers into hiding. The locomotive is a symbol of the greed of man as they cut into the natural environment with no care for the damage they could be making. This language is powerful because it gives us the idea of the locomotives battling against the prairie flowers and of the greed and lack of consideration of humans as they fight to conquer nature for their own means.
The reference to locomotives also brings to our attention the theme of time passing. It takes us back to images of the wild west and Lindsay tries to tell us that this destruction has being happening since a long time ago and is now starting to culminate. This brings the key theme of time passing and a sense of nostalgia, which runs through the poem.
The image of “lying low” is one that is repeated throughout the poem. This repetition forces home the point of nature being driven to the point of extinction. The idea of hiding also shows the theme that nature is in battle with humans and is always losing, despite a preferred reality of humans and nature living well in tandem. Nature loses more and more and is forced into hiding as the “locomotives sing “ and the flower-fed buffaloes leave. Lindsay also uses ‘lying low’ with reference to the Native American tribes. This is powerful because it shows that we are not only affecting nature with our greed, but also are disrupting fellow human beings. Fellow human beings are being made to feel hunted. As well as this, the tribes are genuine human history, which is being destroyed.
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