(Found Some Years Ago at the Foot of Goat Island, Niagara)
I turned aside to pluck thee, sweetest flower,
From thy low bed, where, almost hid from sight,
Thou lay’st besieged by rocks, whose giant power
Was broken ere they reached thee with their might.
Thou grewest there, so tiny and alone,
Among the rocks that formed thy hardened bed;
And yet thou seem’st no sadness to have known,
For heaven’s blue had crowned thy tender head.
Thou wast the only flower that I could see —
The place around was ruinously bare;
And yet thou grewest there contentedly,
Although thou livedst on but rocky fare.
Thou only heardst the cataract’s fierce roar —
The torrents never reached thy rocky bed;
So thou wast safe, though near where fierce floods pour;
The spray but dashed upon thy bending head.
I found thee with thy sweetness hid away,
Far from my path upon the rocks beneath;
I clambered down to claim without delay
Thy slender beauty and thy fragrant breath.
Thou hast for me the tenderest memory,
For him, who was my comrade in those days;
Scarce can I meet until eternity,
When God brings him from India’s burning rays.
I hold thee as a treasure to my heart —
Thy life was so much like my own poor life;
For I, like thee, alone must do my part,
And stand unaided amidst rocks of strife.
And, like thee, may I pass my feeble day,
And never know the torrent’s deadly force;
But may just feel the invigorating spray,
And bless some traveller in his earthly course.
Source: Kevin McCabe, ed. The Poetry of Old Niagara. St. Catharines, Ont. : Blarney Stone Books, 1999.
Originally published in Crawford’s Poems of Yesterday Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1924