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    • POEM: Buffalo Bill by Edward Estlin Cummings (3/22/2010 3:38:00 PM)

      I think Tabi White is on the mark with Jesus being an expression of the onlooker while watching Bill perform his marksmanship. The handsome man surely referred to Cody's self-vanity, and the end question refers to his inevitable demise. Death claimed so many at the hands of Bill Cody that Death already owned Buffalo Bill. He killed his first Indian when he was 12 or 13. He and Bill Comstock nearly drove the American Bison to extinction in their competition to see who could kill the most buffalo to earn the title, 'Buffalo Bill, ' after which he realized the necessity for conservation, pushing for a hunting season. He did support women's rights, for which he is to be commended. He did support native rights to the American Indians, after killing perhaps hundreds in the Utah War and the Plains Wars in an effort to expand the white man's settlements, calling the American Indians, 'the former foe, the present friend, the American, ' in his 'Wild West' show in which he displayed Sitting Bull as the bad guy. He accompanied Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia during his visit to the United States on his 'Royal Hunt' in 1872 where they killed many buffalo for sport, taking the skins and leaving the carcass. Bill Cody was lauded as hero and given a Congressional Medal of Honor, even though it is hard to find one man that was more instrumental in the confiscation of Indian territories or the near extinction of the buffalo. I think this poem is accurate in its portrayal. Cody was surely Mister Death's 'blue-eyed boy.'