Looking for Niagara by E. R. Baxter III

It’s Niagara lost
in the 20th century, disappeared
from the cereal box, up in mist,
a canvas backdrop in one hundred thousand
dead photographs, fading from postcards,
gone to Bermuda, Disney World, flown
to Aruba, splish took a bath at Niagara
splash went to Vegas for the weekend—
but had room at the motel
for Joseph and Marilyn
and were they impressed?
There’s no record of it.

But the first human record at Niagara
before it had name–the first human at ?
who left a flint spear point, water
falling at the whirlpool then,
at old gorge, and the spear point:
dropped in fear, in awe,
in wonder at new water,
ice falling who thought of it as !

Wandering hunter, archaeologists say, who
if he were there at all, didn’t stay long,
as if he had, for months let’s say, they’d
have known—would have found the tree
against which he relieved himself,
charcoal trace on stone, where he
cooked fish—as if no Niagara rock
has been left unturned.

The most recent evidence indicates he
did stay but a brief time—only minutes—
that dizzy from spoiled fish innards
he stumbled out of the woods
toward thunder, saw falling water, stared
slack-jawed into mists and steam rising
against south gorge wall, had visions:

The wall exploding, water rushing forth
gnawing south, divers fearful things—
dropped his spear, fled empty-handed
and throwing up back among the trees
and who wouldn’t have?

What he saw: the sun rising and setting
3 million 647 thousand 445 times, ten
thousand winters and springs, trees
leafing out, hot suns, leaves coloring,
withering, dropping, snows whirling,
grass greening, fogs gathering, rains,
trees dying, toppling, new trees as slim
as spears growing thicker than his body,
salamanders mating between his gnarled toes,
mice nibbling algae from his ankles, a wolf
marking territory on his left shin

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Wonders of the West; or, A Day at the Falls of Niagara in 1825: a poem by a Canadian by James Lynne Alexander

               I.

    Who has not had a wish t'inspect
Niagara's famed cataract ?
And all the wonders to explore
From Erie to Ontario's shore ?
The battles, lately fought between ;
Give lively interest to the scene ;
And lead the curious stranger round,
To scrutinize each battle ground.
But sentiments more noble far,
Than thoughts of that unnatural war,
The scenery around inspires,
And every feeling bosom fires.

                    II.

    The Boat had stemm'd Ontario's tide,
And anchor'd on the southern side ;
A noble river with its waves,
Two rival nations' confines laves ;
That Giant stream, which through the lakes
Of Canada, its circuit makes,
And issuing from Ontario
About two hundred miles below,
(After so long a pilgrimage,
Less holy name were sacrilege)
Assumes St. Lawrence, name of awe
But here 'tis called Niagara.

                    III.

    Upon this river's eastern side,
A Fortress stands in warlike pride ;
Ontario's surges lash its base,
And gradually its walls deface ;
And, from its topmost tower display'd,
A flag, with stripes and stars portray'd ;
Upon the west an ancient mound,
The Union Jack and - British ground :
Nor distant far another stands,
Which the whole river's mouth commands.
Between the two lay Newark village,
Which yet they let its neighbours pillage ;
Nor only so, but burn it down ;
And from its ashes now has grown,
Another, but more lovely far,
Since the conclusion of the war
Which they have nam'd Niagara. Continue reading "Wonders of the West; or, A Day at the Falls of Niagara in 1825: a poem by a Canadian by  James Lynne Alexander"