Drummond: Indomitable Soldier by John Daniel Logan

logan drummond
General Sir Gordon Drummond
FROM SAFFRON dawn that lit the morning sky
Until the moon passed, blanching at the sight
Of fearful slaughter crying for respite,
Thy faithful forces heard thy battle cry
Above the stubborn, fierce, tumultuous sway
Of weltering lines. Then thy undaunted heart
Sustained thy heroes in their awful part
And glorified the sanguinary fray.

To us yon battleground is as a fane,
A holy place, a sacrificial spot
To thee and thy Canadian host who wrought
Immortal warrior deeds at Lundy’s Lane;
            And thine own glory, Drummond, gleameth far,
            Undimmed and constant as the purest star.

Brock: Valiant Leader by John Daniel Logan

Logan Brock
General Sir Isaac Brock leaving Fort George on the morning of Oct 13th 1812 for Queenston Heights. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

O VALIANT leader of the little band
That, fearless, forward rushed to victory,
Tho far outnumbered by the enemy,
And, daring death, saved our Canadian land, —
What honors can we pay the noble name
Of one who held as naught th’ invaders’ art
Of war,— whose glory hath become a part
For evermore of our Canadian fame?

Lo, on the looming crown of that ascent
Where thy life ceased, a loyal host hath reared
To thee — whose patriot heart was pure, nor feared,—
A high commemorative monument!
            Still is thy memory green who fell to save,
            Still, Brock, art thou the bravest of our brave!

Source: Logan, John Daniel. Songs of the Makers of Canada and Other Homeland Lyrics.  Toronto: William Briggs, 1911.

Fondly Remembered Old Queenston by Lini Grol

Grol Queenston
Laura Secord Scissorcut by Lini Grol

A small town
huddling far below
the high BROCK monument,
in honor of the hero
of that historic war
of eighteen twelve.

Far below,
in old Queenston
one little house
speaks of the simple life
of one who also had shared
the atrocity and misery
of that war and had shown
extreme bravery.

LAURA SECORD’s humble old house
facing the blue Niagara,
only whispers of her valour,
but right next door
her fame sells galore
delicious ice cream and sumptuous candy
in the little ice cream parlour.

No, it was not General BROCK
who gave Queenston its fame.
Rather a clever candy maker
knowing the importance of
a woman’s name in the candy trade
who made Queenston famous
with his ice-cream and chocolate
in LAURA SECORD’s name.

Source: Grol, Lini, ed. by Kevin McCabe and Lynne Prunskus. Lake to Lake: Lini Grol’s Niagara.  St. Catharines: Blarney Stone Books, c2000.

Ode to a Bytown Youth by J. A. Murphy

“Enshrined in the records of Canadian achievement a century ago, is the fascinating and thrilling story of a daring feat performed at Brock’s monument on Queenston Heights by a young Bytonian — Matthew Murphy, father of Mr. J.A. Murphy of 412 McLeod Street. Mr. Murphy has penned the following lines relating to the historic incident but fuller details will be found in a story elsewhere on this page.” Ottawa Citizen, December 17, 1938

S.E. View of Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights as it appeared May 9, A.D.1841
“S.E. View of Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights as it appeared May 9, A.D.1841”
              I
Well nigh a century ago, Beside Niagara's river, On Queenston Heights was struck a blow Brock's monument to shiver.
A dastard alien's coward hand Had piled within its bottle A quarter hundred powder bags The tower to o'ertopple.
When fired, the blast was strong enough The wooden stair to shatter, Mortar and stone proved all too tough, For such a piffling matter.
As angry embryo nation rose To right the wrong intended, From town and country, copse and close, Their various ways they wended.
Not trains nor aeroplanes, nor cars Conveyed these sturdy yeomen. None carried arms though some bore scars, But all were worthy foemen.
They rode, they ran, they sailed, they swam O'er trails through swamps, wet, dreary; Berries and leaves their stomachs cram, Footsore they were, and weary.
From nearby hills and dales they come, From broad Ontario's beaches, Where'er a spark or loyal flame Gave urge to man the breaches.
Another such determined host Not all our land could muster They frightened rebels from our coast And quelled the Yankee bluster.
Continue reading "Ode to a Bytown Youth by J. A. Murphy"

Somewhere Between Detroit and Syracuse by Jessica Lyne Jefferson

for: S.D.

We walked barefoot downtown,
Took off our raincoats under the falls,
With our pant legs rolled up,
We swam in Niagara’s fountain.

We met each other there.

We danced in a three foot pond,
Playing with someone else’s children.
Side-stepping forgotten wishes,
We filled the lines of our poem.

You asked me to marry you there.

There, when I told you of my
Dysfunctional family and lovers,
A girl’s need for stability; her strife
Of seeking greatness and purpose.

You said we would live life humble.

You went back to New York;
Taught your son to say my name.
Wrote me into your lectures;
Read my poems to your class.

You asked me to marry you there.

I, lost a tear for my ignorance,
Stepped away from myself,
Trying to recreate my vulnerability-
An insulting offer to you.

So I put those words away.

You were the first mirror to see my back eyes.
The first man to curse a shooting star,
For the raging flame it was.
The first poem I wrote,
As a woman.

 

Source: The author, 2001. Written in 1997.