A Yoruba Ìjálá (hunting poem) from Nigeria

Buffalo, we salute you:
Butterfly of the savannah
skimming along without touching the grass:
Corpulent (fat) beast,
equally at home in the thick forest
and in the wooded plain:
You have not presented the hunter with a wife
and yet he prostrates himself before you
Hunters pose ceremonially on the head
of the elephant they have just killed,
But who would dare pose on the head of a fallen buffalo,
the raging buffalo of the bone-hard horns?
Let the hunter whose medicinal charms have lost their potency
give up chasing the buffalo
In case the beast accidentally devours him like grass.
The demon who frightens a young hunter,
making him scramble up even the thorniest tree:
The demon who has razors at the tips of his horns:
Buffalo, ancient beast,
when you hear roaring
and there is no rain,
that is the buffalo!

from Oral Poetry from Africa (1984)
compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White,

Thanks to Africanpoems.net. You can read the poem on their site here: