Scenes From a Hungarian Restaurant by C. D. Onofrio

Savoury & Sweet Restaurant in Chippawa
Savoury & Sweet Restaurant in Chippawa
Stew Brennand, Tyler Lindsa,y Kyoshi, and C.D. Onofrio performing at Savoury & Sweet Restaurant

little European
Herman Hesse
Maybe Berlin
where Jazz
plays in the club
and the young
women sitting
across from me
conjure visions
of love sweet love
sweetly the piano
plays me into reverie
once I dreamed
this place
once I dreamed
I was Hemingway
shucking oysters
on the Seine
with my pen
and poor finances
doing one of life’s
finer romances
to be in on a conversation
that spans the ages
shaking hands
with humble sages
preparing dinner
playing waitress
“so think with me on this,
how did this moment
come to exist” on somethingness
on nothingness
what’s going on
>behind the scenes
before the singer
begins to sing
imagine what went in
to that note
before this
moment
was composed
“pennies from heaven”
a poor man like me
who might chronically
underachieve
but you know
somedays I’m so sure
somedays I believe
Oh Mary, your faith was so great
“there’ll be pennies from heaven for you and me”

Source: The Author, 2017

[Father Louis Hennepin] by Captain Flynn

Straight up Frontenac’s Northmost side
Ever a West he sailed,
Crossing in blessed Advent tide,
Landing on great Niagara’s shore.
South he turned to a sullen roar;
His Crucifix on his heart he bore;
Never his spirit failed.

Now Glory to God, whose hand did forge
This wondrous watery road!
On ragged rim of the fearful gorge
South he toiled through brambles and moss,
Past rapids roaring like souls atoss.
He blessed himself with the sign of the Cross
At the cliff where the torrent flowed.

His little altar was quick untied;
Small waxen tapers alight,
He said the Mass of the Sanctified.
Turning South through the wintry haze,
His eyes aglow, his heart ablaze,
At Chippawa’s flow, with a song of praise,
He made his camp for the night.

Source: Ray Corry Bond. Peninsula Village: The Story of Chippawa. Chippawa: [s.n.], 1964.

Visit of the Prince of Wales to Laura Secord by Sarah Anne Curzon

(Chippawa, 1860)

Edward, Prince of Wales & party photographed at Niagara Falls by Platt Babbitt, 1860.

Now wherefore trembles still the string
By lyric fingers crossed,
To Laura Secords praise and fame,
When forty years are lost?

Nay, five and forty, one by one,
Have Borne her from the day
When, fired with patriotic zeal,
She trod her lonely way.

Her hair is white, her step is slow,
Why kindles then her eye,
And rings her voice with music sweet
Of many a year gone by?

O know ye not proud Canada,
With joyful heart, enfolds
In fond embrace the royal boy
Whose line her fealty holds?

For him she spreads her choicest cheer,
And tells her happiest tale,
And leads him to her loveliest haunts,
That naught to please may fail.

And great art thou, O Chippawa,
Though small in neighbours eyes,
When out Niagaras haze thou seest
A cavalcade arise;

And in its midst the royal boy
Who, smiling, comes to see
An ancient dame whose ancient fame
Shines in our history.

He takes the thin and faded hand,
He seats him at her side,
Of all that gay and noble band
That moment well the pride.

To him the aged Secord tells,
With many a fervid glow,
How, by her means, Fitzgibbon struck
His great historic blow.

Nor deem it ye, as many do,
A weak and idle thing
That at that moment Laura loved
The praises of a king;

And dwelt on his approving smile,
And kissed his royal hand,
Who represented, and should wield,
The sceptre of our land;

For where should greatness fire her torch
If not at greatness shrine?
And whence should approbation come
Did not the gods incline?

Source: McCabe, Kevin, ed. The Poetry of Old Niagara. St. Catharines, Ont. : Blarney Stone Books, 1999.

Originally published in T.H. Rand, ed. A Treasury of Canadian Verse. 1900.

Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library’s Historic Niagara Digital Collections