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
I search the pages of our history over
For a courageous one whose name would stand
For staunchest patriot, and for truest lover,
And prove the same by deed done for the land;
And my heart thrills, for ’tis a woman bears it,
You’ll find it, marble carved, on Laura Secord’s grave;
And you, and I, and every woman shares it,
The right to stand for what is good and brave.
Source: Kevin McCabe, ed. The Poetry of Old Niagara. St. Catharines,
Ont. : Blarney Stone Books, 1999.
Originally published in: Jean Blewett. Jean Blewett’s Poems. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1922.
“Looking for Niagara” is the title poem from a book (Slipstream, 1993) that celebrates the history of a natural Niagara. E.R. Baxter III is a recipient of a Just Buffalo Award, and a fellow of a New York State CAPS Award, both for fiction. In May 2000, the Buffalo Audubon Society presented him with the Harry Jay Kord Recognition Award for outstanding contributions to the causes of education and conservation in Western New York. He is a founding member of the Niagara Frontier Wildlife Habitat Council, and of the Niagara Heritage Partnership