“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
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"→
In old Niagara town, long aisles of ancient trees
Stand sentinel along the storied ways,
Tall, sturdy patriarchs of other days,
Whose busy leaves are ever whispering memories.
And one there was who walked beneath their arching shade:
True, gallant type of Christian gentleman,
He, faithful, passed the full, allotted span
Within this hoary town whose cause his own he made;
And always at his side there moved a shadowy throng:
Simcoe and Brock and noble Addison,
All who with axe and plough and sword and gun,
Laid firm its deep foundations that have lasted long,
All who, sojourning in this place, did love it well.
He was like to the Roman Livy, he
Who loved his town and ever strove to be
Worthy its great traditions and its annals tell.
So let his country keep his memory one pure sheen,
And bring him, there beside the ivied wall,
Beneath still other forest-veterans tall,
French whites and English roses, ‘twined with Maple green.
Source: E.J. Pratt, (ed). Canadian Poetry Magazine. vol. 6, no. 1, December 1941.
Adelaide Crapsey was born on September 9, 1878 in Brooklyn, New York. She was the third daughter of Episcopalian Rev. Algernon Sidney Crapsey and Adelaide Trowbridge Crapsey. She was an honours student at Vassar College, and then became a teacher. She contracted tuberculosis somewhere around 1903, and died on October 8, 1914.
She had been working on a study of metrics that proved too exhausting for her to continue after the onset of her illness, and so she concentrated on poetry. She is known as the inventor of the cinquain – a poem of 5 short lines of unequal length, of which Niagara is one. Her poems were published posthumously.
Bill Cattey has been employed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 17 years as a software engineer after getting his degree in Computer Engineering from there. Bill is quite sure of himself as an engineer, but is a little uncomfortable calling himself a poet. He knows he started early with a haiku he wrote in elementary school, but after that he can find only one additional poem written before entering MIT.
He attributes that second poem’s being published in his high school literary magazine to be an artifact of them being hungry for copy rather than any literary value to the work.
Bill, with the aid of a collaborator, has set two of his poems to music. He hopes to publish his work through more conventional literary channels in the future. Bill currently publishes all his poetry, including many works in progress, on a personal web site: http://web.mit.edu/wdc/www/poetry