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.

Niagara Falls: a Poem in Three Cantos / by James K. Liston.

Liston
Title page in his Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls ! stupendous, beautiful,
Enduring monument of Power Divine !
Thy white-foam pillars ever moving stand,
And ever standing move harmoniously
To the rough music of the dashing spray,
And roaring tumult of the boiling base.
How long has tuned this mystic minstrelsy ?
When did thy swift but solemn march begin ?
When wast thou first heaved o’er those heights sublime
That fringe, with green, Ontario’s mantle blue ?
How long hast thou been grinding down that steep
That frames the wonder of a wondrous world,
And holds thy silvery vestments to the sun ?

Niagara Falls ! stupendous, beautiful,
Enduring monument of Power Divine !
Thy white-foam pillars ever moving stand,
And ever standing move harmoniously
To the rough music of the dashing spray,
And roaring tumult of the boiling base.
How long has tuned this mystic minstrelsy ?
When did thy swift but solemn march begin ?
When wast thou first heaved o’er those heights sublime
That fringe, with green, Ontario’s mantle blue ?
How long hast thou been grinding down that steep
That frames the wonder of a wondrous world,
And holds thy silvery vestments to the sun ?

To see the full text of this long poem, visit the Hathi Trust scanned copy at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=aeu.ark:/13960/t0jt0gq1q;view=1up;seq=14

Source: Liston, James Knox. Niagara Falls a poem in three cantos. Toronto: The Author, 1843. Scanned copy from the Hathi Trust

Wirewalker by John B. Lee

wallenda
Nik Wallenda Crossing Niagara Falls on a Tightrope Wire, June 15, 2012. Photo by Peter Conradi. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

he set out on the cable—walking
over Niagara Falls
as though balanced on a thread
in his electric-orange raiment
like a brilliant spider
on a silk
a lovely incandescent
Marbled Orbweaver
this Wallenda
a third-generation daredevil
slowing over the plumb weights
then quick as an arachnid in a rush
from suddenly seeing itself being seen
in a busy garden
confident and striding
until he entered
the complex crosswinds
where vapours plumed and swirled
in a wet smoulder
it was then he felt
the breath and push
of unanticipated weather
it was then
he began
to pray to the God of sparrows
the God of gulls
and wind-hovering hawks
as he felt
the nudge and mischief
that does not love
defiance
and the ineluctable perils
that blur the burning thorax
of the wirewalker

his heart
and the drum-echo
of its pulse
blooming at the wrist with the flesh stung blue
the image of ancestors
the long drop of their dying
into the damp tear-gather of ghosts
the grey sorrow of rain pooling
in the long veins of an upcurled leaf
the thirsting lifeline
of a widow’s palm
what morbid wishfulness
hushes in us all
though we’re carried
by his brave motion
we also long in the deep plunge
of a common faith to go
roaring over the emerald edge
as we fall beyond knowing

Source: The author. “The Wirewalker” was previously published in my book The Full Measure (Black Moss Press, 2017) and then in my book Beautiful Stupid: poems selected and new (Black Moss Press, 2018)

John B. Lee  is the Poet Laureate of the city of Brantford in perpetuity and Poet Laureate of Norfolk County for life.

Lines On Reading That the Only Words Spoken…. by Anonymous

lines

On reading that the only words spoken by the young lady recently killed at the Falls, after the accident, were — “Let me” —

lines
The Bride of Death; by Thomas Jones Barker Victoria Art Gallery

“Let me,” and here the fast receding breath
‡‡Denied the power of utterance — the throb
Of that young heart grew faint.    Ah, reckless Death,
‡‡How didst thou then of hope surviving bosoms rob!

What was the wish thus less than half expressed,
‡‡That latest image of the aching brain,
Imprisoned in the fair young sufferer’s breast,
‡‡Without the strength to burst the feeble chain.

Was it a prayer that she might longer live,
‡‡Addressed to Him who holds the scroll of fate?
Or did she wish a parting thought to give
‡‡In trust to those that watching, round her wait?

Some fond remembrance of her distant home,
‡‡Where late perhaps maternal love had shed
Its hallowed flame, — and when resolved to roam
‡‡Had breathed a farewell blessing on her head.

Ah, who so fitting now to claim her thoughts,
‡‡As she whose hand sustained her helpless years?
Oh, that the action of that hand, were brought,
‡‡To wipe, with tender care, those dying tears.

See, in this theatre of nature’s might,
‡‡In boundless strength the dashing waters rush,
With headlong fury o’er the dizzy height,
‡‡And threaten e’en the solid rock to crush.

But mark the contrast!   On that bed of pain
‡‡The form reclines of nature’s noblest art,
Whose strongest energy is spent in vain,
‡‡To breathe the last conception of her heart.

Great Ruler of the destinies of Man!
‡‡Teach us to reverence thy dark decree;
Forgive the daring murmur at thy plan,
‡‡And make us yield and humbly trust to thee.

The last words of the dying girl may be
‡‡The first to form the Christian’s hopeful prayer;
Trusting her happy spirit is with thee;
‡‡He cries, “O Father ‘Let me’ join her there.”

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