Again to the Falls by Lynne Bronstein

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Mr. & Mrs. Harry Lewis At Table Rock Observation Platform, Horseshoe Falls In Background. Photographer unknown. Francis A. Petrie Collection. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

I visited Niagara Falls only once. I was sixteen
And with my family. The Customs Man
Came to know us after a few days.
But every time we crossed the bridge,
He asked us “Where were you born?”
Because he had to.
I spent much time on the Canadian side
Because it was exciting to be in another country.
I watched the trains that ran through the center of town.
Longest trains I’d ever seen, Canadian railroad.
I saw the bell tower where an unfaithful blonde
Was strangled by her husband in the movie Niagara.
But the Falls? The three waterfalls,
Demonstrating the full force of water at top speed—
All I did was look at them.
My parents had been under them.
It had once been the fashion
For honeymooners to travel
To the Falls. For the maximum
In daring romance, they’d don clumsy raincoats
And clunky boots
And ride the boat Maid of the Mist
As it passed beneath the muscular shower,
Getting each marriage off
To a drenching start.
As if to say: “We are not wed
Until we’ve been soaked
And cleansed
In the spray of the Falls.”

I wonder if this magic might work in reverse.
If I were to go to Niagara now
And stand beneath the Falls
And let the water change me,
Make me ready
To receive
Love that streams
Like non-stop water.
It is not a question of where I was born
But rather a question of where I will revive.
Under the rainbow arc of water
Where love and courage have been tested
And children are conceived.
No age is too late for a honeymoon.
To stand beneath the Falls
Is an item on my list.


Lynne Bronstein is a poet, a journalist, a fiction writer, a songwriter, and a playwright. She has been published in magazines ranging from Chiron Review, Spectrum, and Lummox, to Playgirl and the newsletter of the U.S. Census Bureau. Bronstein has published five books of poetry, including her latest, Nasty Girls from Four Feathers Publishing. Her first crime story was published in 2017 in the anthology LAst Resort. Her adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It was performed at two LA libraries. Her story “The Magic Candles” was performed on National Public Radio. She’s been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and four times for the Best of the Net awards.

Dedication of the Bells by Rev. Martin R. Jenkinson

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View of the Bells in the Carillon Tower of the Rainbow Bridge by George Bailey. Photo courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library Digital Collections

It stands amid floral splendour,
Its feet firmly set on the sod,
Its tower upreaching to Heaven,
Like a finger, pointing to God.

Though it stands on Canada’s soil,
It looks to America’s shore,
And the common music to both,
Is the sound of the river’s roar.

And out from that beautiful shrine,
There will come melodious knells;
The cause of this musical flood?
The tower is a Chapel of Bells.

They’re the fruit of a people’s pride.
A means of showing their praise;
In honour of two of earth’s great,
Who led them through dark, dreary days.

Their words gave balm to the weary;
Then they rallied their nations’ power.
To battle the hosts of darkness.
And give freedom one shining hour.

Their words defied the defiant,
And imparted strength to the brave,
And like some heavenly trumpet,
Aroused man’s shy hopes from the grave.

Held in high respect by earth’s great,
And loved by the humble as well,
We will be hearing their voices, when
We list to the song of the bell.

Your songs are the art of blending,
By the touch of a master’s choice.
May all who hear, catch the meaning,
Who stand within sound of your voice.

So cast on the air your message,
May if come again and again.
In notes of comfort and uplift,
Like a benediction to men.

Source:  Bridges – Rainbow – Carillon Vertical File. Niagara Falls, Ont. : Niagara Falls Public Library.

Read on the occasion of the dedication of the carillon bells, June 16, 1947.