Bossy Sims: A Limerick by Andrew Porteus

bossy
Bossy Sims Taking the Waters at Niagara Falls, 1860s. Photo Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

A cow named Bossy took her drink
Daily, by the Falls at the brink
She never went over
She must have et clover
Of the four-leaved kind, or she’d sink!

Bossy Simms the cow was owned by the Superintendent of the Incline Railway. She frequently would wade out into the water less than 100 feet from the brink of the American Falls. The sight of Bossy was a curious attraction to many a visitor of the times.

Source: The author, 2019

Untitled by Anonymous

careering
Below Table Rock, Niagara. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Niagara, Niagara — careering in its might,
The fierce and free Niagara shall be my theme to-night !
A glorious theme — a glorious home, Niagara, are mine ;
Heaven’s fire is on thy flashing wave, it’s thunder blends with thine.
The clouds are bursting fearfully, the rocks beneath me quiver :
But thou unscathed ar’t hurrying on, for ever and for ever.
Years touch thee not, Niagara — thou art a changeless thing,
For still the same deep roundelay thy solemn waters sing.

Source: Dr. Thomas Rolph. A Brief Account, Together With Observations, Made During a Visit in the West Indies, and a Tour Through the United States of America, in Parts of the Years 1832-3; Together With a Statistical Account of Upper Canada. Dundas, U.C. : G. Heyworth Hackstaff, Printer, 1836.

Rolph mentions this poem was written in the Table Rock Album; it is not published in Thomas & Lathrop’s excerpts from the Table Rock Album. Rolph would have been looking at the original.

Poem to Commemorate the Battle of Queenston Heights by a Soldier

You British subjects passing by
Queenston’s proud Monument, cast your eye,
For there entombed within that rock
Lies the sacred dust of Sir Isaac Brock,
Also the dust of McDonald* the brave
Who shared his fate, and shares his grave :
The invaders of Canada to repel,
They bravely fought and gloriously fell.
This fertile country from these heights view round
Then let a grateful tear drop down,
For since the conquest of Quebec was told,
When Briton mourned for valiant Wolfe of old,
Canada had ne’er such reason to complain
As when her gallant patriarch, Brock was slain.

* Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell

soldier
A painting of the original Brock’s Monument prior to the 1840 bombing (painting by Philip John Bainbrigge, courtesy Library and Archives Canada/ C-011799)

Source: Dr. Thomas Rolph. A Brief Account, Together With Observations, Made During a Visit in the West Indies, and a Tour Through the United States of America, in Parts of the Years 1832-3; Together With a Statistical Account of Upper Canada. Dundas, U.C. : G. Heyworth Hackstaff, Printer, 1836.

From Rolph’s Book (p, 203-204): “Sir Isaac Brock’s memory is held in the profoundest veneration by the Canadians, his bravery, courtesy, gallant bearing, kindness, and indefatigable attention to the troops he commanded, procured him their utmost confidence and affection. At a dinner which took place in Hamilton on the 14th of October, 1833, to commemorate the anniversary of the battle of Queenston, a Canadian soldier, who was wounded in that engagement, sent in the following elegy to Sir Isaac Brock’s memory. I give it not so much for its merit, as a proof of the fervour and intensity of their regard to the memory of their departed hero.

The verse, although rude an unharmonious is characteristic of the general feeling of Upper Canadians toward General Brock.”

Niagara River and Falls by The Bard of Niagara (J.B. Waid)

bard
J.B. Waid, “The Bard of Niagara”
Pleasant, peaceful, quiet river,
Limpid, constant, onward ever,
    Gentle waters roll away ;
Calm as summer, bright as morning,
Not a look, or sign of warning,
    Naught of danger dost thou say,
But gliding along, mild and strong,
               To the Rapids.
                    Then
Sporting, murm'ring, tossing, splashing,
Storming, raving, crossing, dashing,
    Troubled waters fret away ;
Hasting, pushing, staving, darting,
Islands mad'ning thee to parting,
    Yet thy tumult cannot stay;
But, tearing along, mad and strong,
               To the chasm.
                    Then
Curving, bending, bursting, breaking,
Sliding, leaping, rushing, quaking,
    Flying waters dart away ;
Flashing, sparkling, wailing, rumbling,
O'er the brink an ocean tumbling,
    To a world of foam and spray,
Fierce shooting along, proud and strong,
               We see thee now
                     In
Stately grandeur, awful wonder,
Hear thy voice in terms of thunder;
    Falling waters roar away,
Pouring, showering, misting, streaming,
Rob'd in rainbow colors beaming,
    Deck'd by Sol's, or Luna's ray,
Swift plunging along, grand and strong,
               To the bottom.
                    Then
Foaming, boiling, surging, thrashing,
Breaching, swelling, heaving, crashing,
    Furious waters foam away,
Babbling, roaring, brawling, curling,
Gurgling, wailing, whisking, whirling ;
    Fanciful thy currents play,
Still pressing along, bold and strong,
               Dimpling, pouting.
                    Then
Gathering, kissing, whispering, hushing,
Panting, smiling, frisking, rushing,
    Lovely waters roll away ;
Winding, eddying, purling, playing,
Lakeward still, and never staying,
    Rustling on thy shining way ;
Free coursing along, calm and strong,
               Soon to mingle
                    With
Ontario's tideless waters—
Long to be thy prison quarters ;
    Noble river die away.
But I err, a poet's blunder,
Still I hear thy deaf'ning thunder ;
    Here thou art, and here must stay
World-wide wonder, mighty, strong
      Niagara !

Source: J.B. Waid. Variety : Poetry and Prose. Montreal : J. Lovell, 1872.
Waid, born 1804, was (self?)styled The Bard of Niagara

Niagara by Bruce Bond

And then the husband, head bowed, eyes closed,
a tourist pamphlet in his lap, says,

bond
Bruce Bond. Courtesy of the author

did you know the green color of the water
is the color of the falls coming to an end.

And the bride says, you do not look good, love,
pale as an angel. Are you sleeping well,

eating well. Did you know, he says,
sixty tons of salt and rock flour drain

each minute, a foot each year, and in a thousand
lifetimes, there will be no falls at all.

And the bride takes the pamphlet from his hands
and folds it tenderly as if it were a thing

she loved and worried over. Did you know,
he says on the verge of sleep that never arrives,

the end of his sentence carried out to sea.
And the rainbow comes and goes according

to the clouds. And when it comes, the petals
of the cameras open, as they did just now.

And somewhere in a stranger’s photograph,
the man turns to the woman and says, did you

know. And she says, no, dear, I did not.
Or was it, yes, I did. Either way

her palm on his brow is a bridal veil
of water. It cures the sleepless, that sound.

It is the angel in the downpour, the coin
so old it passes faceless through our hands.

And with that, the couple vanishes.
And a thousand tons of mist rises and falls.

Source: Prairie Schooner, Spring 2018

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-three books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, SIU Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018).  Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.