Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Death of a Showman

It is a haunting little poem by the man who abhorred punctuation. The voice is that of a child, or a teen girl, lamenting the passing of showman Buffalo Bill Cody. The voice is internal, thoughts portrayed as they appear: first focusing on Bill, no longer there, the whimsical vision of what he was, words running together reflecting the mind’s image. And finally the ultimate realization of what Bill’s passing really means, a moment of reflection on the meaning of life and the impact of death. The author never capitalizes his own name, but honors Bill with the upper case in a poem where the only other capitalizations involve Jesus and Death itself. This nameless poem (usually called Buffalo Bill or Portrait) immortalizes Bill and elevates him to a spot alongside the deities.

Buffalo Bill or Portrait

e. e. cummings

Buffalo Bill’s


who used to

ride a watersmooth-silver


and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat


he was a handsome man

and what i want to know is

how do you like your blueeyed boy

Mister Death

1 comment:

  1. A giant sleeps in Lookout Mountain Park.