Dry Run / 1848 by Colene Ruch

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People Walking on the Ice Bridge at Niagara Falls, 1883.
Photograph by George Barker
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress

One day in March
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡a century or so ago
Niagara Falls couldn’t or wouldn’t
Why there was no flow
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡was a puzzle.
Why didn’t the water show?
Beached creatures needed to know.
The day before it fell pell-mell.
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now, nothing gushing, dry as…
Well, when Niagara Falls fails
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡fears assail faces.
Something’s very wrong in high places
when the mighty Falls just stops its drops.
What befell the Falls,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡caused the pause?
People walked the riverbed,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡dismayed, began to pray.
Boaters removed crags that had been snags.
Finally word from Buffalo, hours away,
conveyed that storm winds chunked ice up
and that ice jam became an ice dam,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡blocking Niagara River to a sliver.
For forty hours no Falls at all, still it was, till
the dam broke, bursting waters spoke
from a rumble to a thundering  roar,
as Niagara’s breadth unfurled
its Falls in power once more
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡to a grateful lark-winged world.


Source: Colene Ruch, 2021

© Colene Ruch, 2021

Read about the day Niagara Falls ran dry

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