Niagara by Willis Gaylord Clark

Here speaks the voice of God  let man be dumb,
Nor with his vain aspirings hither come.
That voice impels the hollow-sounding floods,
And like a presence fills the distant woods.
These groaning rocks the Almighty’s finger piled;
For ages here his painted bow has smiled,
Mocking the changes and the chance of time —
Eternal, beautiful, serene, sublime!

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848

Also published in: Myron T. Pritchard, comp.  Poetry of Niagara. Boston: Lothrop Publishing Co., 1901.

Untitled by Martin Durkin

Amongst the vineyards

She sounds
continuous tambourine
loud celebration of sight
drowning hell and giving
heaven vacant space

We drive
and drive around
tourist inside his
homeland Ontario
viewing it first at 23
and now 5th visit
at 26.

the seasons submerge
forging unison

Here
the beauty female
is born as we stare
snap photos and
take chances on the
betting machines

Each day it pulls
the provinces closer
together
drawing strangers to
drive and stand and glare
at this bowl of white mist
with a playing marching band
hidden below it all

Source: The Author, 2005

The Niagara Gorge (as seen from the Whirlpool Cable Car) by Father James B. Dollard

Spanish Aero-Car (photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library)
Had Dante ever seen this prodigy,
This monstrous monument of Nature's wrath,
Then had he found new terrors to surround
The entrance to Inferno.  At the gate
A power invisible becomes our guide,
And our smooth car swings into the Abime.

The evening shades have fallen and a cloud,
Huge, threatening, and amorphous settles down,
Bridging the gulf. Lo! now assails our ears,
The hissing tumult of the floods that dash,
Writhing in agony, 'twixt iron walls,
O'er rude and tortuous beds!

        The uproar grows,
And the pent waters churning into foam,
Round adamantine boulders, scream aloud,
Till maddened past all bound, they end the note
In maniac glee!

        Above and all about,
Colossal cliffs their lithic brows uplift,
To the grim skies, and horror reigns supreme!
"Release!" "Release!" the torn waves howl beneath --
"Give us release!" -- and the harsh cliffs reply,
With mocking echoes -- their eroded breasts,
Gargantuan laughter shakes.

        And now our car
Leaves the dread scene, and up the wall's sheer side,
Climbs, groaning with vast effort, till we view,
From perilous height the black gulf far below,
And quake to ponder plunging down so steep,
To dire destruction!

        All at once there opes
A rocky portal, and we breathe relief,
For, lo! the streets, the windows, and the lights!
The newsboys' cries, the clatter of the town!

Source: Rev. James B. Dollard. Poems. Toronto: The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada, 1910.

About Father Dollard

Niagara by Father James B. Dollard

Niagara by Frederic Edwin Church
Incessantly thy waters thus have rolled
    Through the dim aeons of unmeasured Time,
    While God was fashioning His work sublime,
Or ere His sulphurous forges could grow cold!
When Egypt loved Osiris and retold
    His charmed birth from out Nilotic slime,
    When Chaldea read the stars, and Homer's rhyme
Was yet undreamt -- Niagara thundered bold.

So night and day throughout coverging years
    Hoarse voices rose above the hissing spray
        Scaring the lonely Indian on the shore!
These bellowing chasms harbored nameless fears --
    Demons and dragons in contorted play
        Lashing the frightened waters evermore!

Source: Rev. James B. Dollard. Poems. Toronto: The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada, 1910.

About Father Dollard

Loretto Convent, Niagara Falls by Father James B. Dollard

Loretto Convent, c1910

I look below;  Niagara’s torrent white
    Is eager hurrying to the dread abyss;
    I hear its thunder as the waters hiss
Over the awful brink, to plunge from sight
In seething spray!   Confusion at its height
    Is pictured there; but even on convent walls
    The radiant glow of even gently falls
And all is harmony and holy quiet!

Like some blest soul on Heaven that ever dreams,
    Bending its chastened look beyond the skies,
        Regardless of the tumults of the world;
So, crowned with peace this cloistered abbey seems,
    And on its peerless heights serene doth rise,
        While deep below the raging floods are hurled!

Source: Rev. James B. Dollard. Poems. Toronto: The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada, 1910.