The Poetical Review: a Brief Notice of Canadian Poets and Poetry by A.C. Stewart

[excerpt, p. 16-17]

stewart
William Kirby, 1817-1906
From his Le Chien d’or

Where wild Niagara hurls his torrents down
A poet dwells who wears a sanguine crown ;
There Kirby with his strong and graphic pen
Shall rouse the warring legions up again : —
English and French, and Redmen, marshalled are,
And shake the plains, beneath the shock of war,
Yet not the reeking charge and bloody fray,
The lingering siege, or the victorious day,
Alone are his, he can at list digress
To plant the thorn that symbol of distress
An spin his little yarn of love betrayed
The faithful wife and the seducing maid : —
Ah ! fated concubine thy wicked hand
Is doomed to slay the lover “Bois-le-Grand”
Vain thy caresses, in his mortal pain,
He knows thee not but calls his chatelaine,
Yet faithful still like Conrad’s Kaled thou
Watched to the last and sharest his glory now.
Such is the story told in time and rhyme
That makes ridiculous this antique crime ;
Kirby no more thy leisure hours abuse
Collect thy customs but tempt not the muse.


Note by A.C. Stewart: Mr. Kirby is a bright star in William Douw’s Heaven, he will live longer probably, than Lighthall himself, Government official, author of “Canadian Idylls,” writer of some very good verse, and much rubbish.  [William Douw Lighthall was  a Canadian poet and philosopher]


Source: A.C. Stewart.  The Poetical Review: a Brief Notice of Canadian Poets and Poetry.  Toronto: J. Anderson, Printer, 1896. See the complete poem here

The “little yarn of love betrayed” is the poem Spina Christi, which can be viewed here

Stewart (1867-1944) came to Canada from Ireland, and became a tunnel and bridge contractor in Fort William, Ontario.

Kirby (1817-1906) came to Canada from Yorkshire, settled in present day Niagara-on-the-Lake, was a customs collector and author, and publisher of the Niagara Mail newspaper.  Read more about him here

Dry Run / 1848 by Colene Ruch

ruch
People Walking on the Ice Bridge at Niagara Falls, 1883.
Photograph by George Barker
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress

One day in March
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡a century or so ago
Niagara Falls couldn’t or wouldn’t
Why there was no flow
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡was a puzzle.
Why didn’t the water show?
Beached creatures needed to know.
The day before it fell pell-mell.
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now, nothing gushing, dry as…
Well, when Niagara Falls fails
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡fears assail faces.
Something’s very wrong in high places
when the mighty Falls just stops its drops.
What befell the Falls,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡caused the pause?
People walked the riverbed,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡dismayed, began to pray.
Boaters removed crags that had been snags.
Finally word from Buffalo, hours away,
conveyed that storm winds chunked ice up
and that ice jam became an ice dam,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡blocking Niagara River to a sliver.
For forty hours no Falls at all, still it was, till
the dam broke, bursting waters spoke
from a rumble to a thundering  roar,
as Niagara’s breadth unfurled
its Falls in power once more
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡to a grateful lark-winged world.


Source: Colene Ruch, 2021

© Colene Ruch, 2021

Read about the day Niagara Falls ran dry

wind and light by Andrea Moorhead

 

moorhead
Early Morning Mist at Niagara Falls, January 7, 2007. Photo by Andrew Porteus

there is nothing at Niagara
acid burns along the river
the strawberries bloom under the night
when leaves turn towards the sun
and the day star shoots across the water,
there is nothing at Niagara
and my hands are empty
neither straw nor cornflower
not the jet black of crow and raven
the grounds are empty at Niagara
and there is only wind and the soft light pattern
of mist on skin.


Source: Abraxas no. 42/43, 1997

Visit Andrea Moorhead’s Goodreads page for some of her books in French and English, including her book Niagara

About Andrea Moorhead:

I continue to publish poetry in French and consider this work to be essential. My French work is quite different in tone and direction from my English work; it represents, perhaps, the natural extension of my concerns with the natural world and its degradation from multiple causes. I also continue to work with photography, and think of it as an overlapping aspect of my exploration of abstraction and tangential realities.

View another of Moorhead ‘s poems, Niagara weeps, on this website

Niagara weeps by Andrea Moorhead

weeps
Cave of the Winds in Winter, circa 1940. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Niagara weeps, her heart among the dead
and earth still covered in ice and flower
where the mounds for burial are rooted
‡‡in vine
where sun has warmed so many fears,
‡‡so many hearts aching
but Niagara weeps at the crest of joy
at the matting festival of fruit and earth
at the plain song at dusk and the frozen
‡‡waste in concrete
she weeps and the songs are carried
‡‡ceremonial
at the hour of sleeping
when hands and limbs, when eyes and
‡‡lips are cool
and the only song is carried beneath
‡‡the rain.


Source: Abraxas no. 42/43, 1997

Visit Andrea Moorhead’s Goodreads page for some of her books in French and English, including her book Niagara

About Andrea Moorhead:

I continue to publish poetry in French and consider this work to be essential. My French work is quite different in tone and direction from my English work; it represents, perhaps, the natural extension of my concerns with the natural world and its degradation from multiple causes. I also continue to work with photography, and think of it as an overlapping aspect of my exploration of abstraction and tangential realities.

View another of her poems, wind and light, on this website

A Dialogue by John Smyth et al.

table
The title page of the Table Rock Album


John Smyth:

I should have surely written a poem here;
But my muse has got water-logged

Sir Walter Scott:

“Water-logged,” Mister Smyth, are you sure that the log
In the wy of your muse is not swimming in grog?

Ettrick Shepherd:

He’s a gomeril, that Smyth — a pure feckless body —
Wha the de’il can write poetry wha canna drink toddy?
What a pour o’ Glenlivit — an ocean and mair —
It would tak’ to mix up that cauld water down 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

This link takes you to the scanned version of  the 1855 version of Table Rock Album from the Hathi Trust

See the Table of Contents of the Table Rock Album on this site.