The Ghost White Buffalo: A Poem

February 16, 2016 at 8:26 pm (Folklore, Ghost Story, History, Poetry) (, , , , )

The Ghost White Buffalo

It was the winter of 1908
colder than a frost giant’s plate
colder than the old timers could ever remember
colder than the young would ever remember when they approached their life’s December
It was definitely a once in a lifetime winter
that made a thermometer an icy splinter
And amidst the drifting cold and snow
that made one huddle to a warm fire’s glow
there were reports of a ghost white buffalo being seen
that fabled beast that haunted many a Blackfoot warrior’s dream
It was an omen people said
in hushed whispers filled with dread
The beast would suddenly appear
then just as quickly disappear
an apparition that glowed on many a cold wintery night
and sent spectators fleeing in fright
Was this furry vision sensible to feeling as well as sight
those few brave souls could not get close enough to touch, try as they might
And so amidst the cold of this icy winter’s breath
that gave one chills like the approach of death
could be added the cold chills of these ghostly visions
into the local psyche the ghost white buffalo made incisions

And now on this cold blizzardy night
some rancher’s herd was not in sight
“The herd has vanished!” Joe said to his wife
this herd that was the source of his ranch’s life
And into the cold snow blind night Joe did stumble
wishing to hear the joyful sound of a cattle’s rumble
“Joe don’t go!” his wife shouted
but the door slammed and the kettle’s steam sprouted

Snow and snow and still more snow
wind and flakes did blow and blow
Joe wondered where to go?
For this night’s cold was a deadly foe

Not far from this ranch was a dreadful cliff
on which Death’s dark scythe could easily sift
over these cliffs the cattle could easily go
plunging to the snow white depths below

The cliff was called Dead Man’s Bluff
but in this card game it was not enough
for the Grim Reaper easily won every hand
and welcomed one to where Charon’s boat would land

Later generations would call it Dry Island Buffalo Jump
where white bones of dead buffalo formed a graveyard dump
Here First Nations people had hunted for centuries those great noble beasts of the Plains
and they’d fall over the cliffs like giant drops of brown pouring rains

The noble buffalo had now vanished from the wild Alberta plain
an image kept alive in memory of early settler’s brain

Now the only buffalo one heard of hereabouts was the lone White Buffalo of fireplace tales
that made one’s heart feel a cold bed of nails

At some point in the blizzard snow filled night Joe stumbled and fell
and looked down over the edge to a snow bound Hell
He himself was on Dead Man’s Bluff
it was the edge of the world and all such stuff
that was related in childhood stories
a place where only ghost white buffalo make forays

Joe decided he better head home
from this abyss where ghostly buffalo roam

And so back to his cabin Joe went
this cold frosty night not well spent
Joe’s only hope was his herd wandered down the narrow canyon trail and not over the cliff
a fairy tale he told himself as over his cup of tea he did siff

At 7 PM the next day, the blizzard did stop
and on to his horse Joe did hop
Joined by his rancher friends, Joe set out in search of his herd
expecting Fate’s answer to be one discouraging word
They rode to the edge of Dead Man’s Bluff
and looking down, expected to see mangle of bones and blood and stuff
but there at the bottom was Joe’s herd alive and intact
it was quite unexpected but nonetheless a fact
The herd had somehow found their way down the narrow canyon trail in this worst winter’s worst blizzard
something that could only be accomplished by a wizard
A rancher friend suddenly pointed out on this moon swept wintery night
where the herd alive was to Joe a welcoming sight,
“Look there, Joe! Look who’s been leading your herd. See there, Joe.”
Joe looked and he saw the Ghost White Buffalo
An apparition that did gleam and glow
making even whiter the glistening snow
The Ghost White Buffalo then looked up at the cliff
he whose ancestors had fallen over it like snow drift
and then the noble beast did vanish into the dark of night
this cattle herd’s savior gone from sight.

The story would be told for years to come
over glasses of egg nog and hot buttered rum
of the Ghost White Buffalo who led a herd of cattle to safety down a narrow canyon trail
and saved them from entering too soon that abode beyond death’s dark veil.

-A poem written by Christopher
during the period
Thursday February 11th
to
Sunday February 14th
2016

-Inspired by an oil painting
done by my father George Milner
entitled The Ghost White Buffalo
based on a true account of an incident
testified as having actually happened
by 17 old time settlers he talked to
that remembered that dreadfully cold
winter of 1907-08
and remembered how a man’s cattle herd
was led to safety by a Ghost White Buffalo

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12 Comments

  1. sarejessian said,

    Reblogged this on sarejessian and commented:
    Wow, outstanding.

  2. ѕнєяяιє ∂є ναℓєяια said,

    We have almost a similar ghost legend back home at my village. My mother, my aunt and my late grandmother (including few other villagers) who saw a buffalo ghost roaming the hills during the time when sunset come. But when it darkens the buffalo ghost disappeared with the last sunlight diminished. It scared the villagers though because he made those gnarling sound. Unlike normal buffalos that snorting, this one not.

    It has a body of a man and it stood up on the hill from time to time. The men in the villagers decided one day to investigate the hill because it scared the kids when they came home from school during late evening. For the safety of the children, the men went up there with their rifles and spears, and saber. But what they’d found were only the hooves print and nothing more. And it was ONLY TWO hooves print as if he or that creature had two legs as seen by some witnesses from afar …

    But who knows what it was or what it is … Scary figure. Unknown and un-explained … reminded me very much of the legendary creature known as Minotaur. 😛

    • Dracul Van Helsing said,

      Hm.

      That’s very interesting, Sherrie.

      A very interesting legend.

      Sounds like the creature was part buffalo and part man.

      Just like the Minotaur was part man and part bull.

      And then there was the mysterious Baphomet who was worshipped by the Knights Templar and then by satanists in the 19th and 20th Centuries- who was part human and part goat and at the same time part male (having a phallus) and part female (having female breasts) and at the same time his body had the contrasting colours of light and dark symbolizing the yin and the yang.

      • ѕнєяяιє ∂є ναℓєяια said,

        Of such creature has been existed since centuries. Nowadays I think they prefer to hide and not landed somewhere in a laboratory. Of which reminded me of the TV series I watched, Teen Wolf, where there were these three evil scientists who called as ‘The Dread Doctors’ who defies the both the law of nature and the supernatural, successfully created bio-humanoid-monsters pack and been experimenting with both materials, creating greater and harder, smarter and evil creatures on earth.

        The combined the human with some genetic form of chimera or wolves, snakes and anything supernatural they can get. To imagine that those thing or creature that are half the man are really creepy thing …

        And plus the many forms of devil worshiping came from that too. The world is sick somehow, isn’t it? …

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Yes, it’s all these strange creatures that Dr. Cadbury Rocher is seeking to re-create in my series of vampire novels.

        Yes, sadly the world is very sick indeed.

      • ѕнєяяιє ∂є ναℓєяια said,

        He should create Mushroom monster that slash ugly men who eat other people’s out! 😀

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Yes, that’s a good idea. 😀

  3. doesitevenmatter3 said,

    How wonderful that you were inspired to write this from one of your father’s paintings! 🙂
    I’d never heard this story before…but I love stories like this! Wow! And the visuals were vivid!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

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