Love’s Changeableness by Arthur Weir

niagara falls love
How many heart-wed lovers here have stood,
Like us, beside the Niagaras folding brink,
Watching the thirsty gorge the torrent drink!
How many, like ourselves, in solitude
Have stood above the fierce moon-smitten flood,
Through whose mist clouds a myriad star-points twink,
And felt the grandeur of the cataract sink
Into their souls until was thought subdued.
How many human hearts here throbbed with love
And dreamed their love would live beyond the grave,
Strong as Niagaras rush, deep as its fall,
Only within a little space to prove
Their love as changing as the tumbling wave
Which breaks in mist that darkly shadows all.

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

Also in the anthology Niagara Mornings by Andrew C. Porteus, 2016.

Originally published: Dominion Illustrated, June 22, 1889

Somewhere Between Detroit and Syracuse by Jessica Lyne Jefferson

for: S.D.

We walked barefoot downtown,
Took off our raincoats under the falls,
With our pant legs rolled up,
We swam in Niagara’s fountain.

We met each other there.

We danced in a three foot pond,
Playing with someone else’s children.
Side-stepping forgotten wishes,
We filled the lines of our poem.

You asked me to marry you there.

There, when I told you of my
Dysfunctional family and lovers,
A girl’s need for stability; her strife
Of seeking greatness and purpose.

You said we would live life humble.

You went back to New York;
Taught your son to say my name.
Wrote me into your lectures;
Read my poems to your class.

You asked me to marry you there.

I, lost a tear for my ignorance,
Stepped away from myself,
Trying to recreate my vulnerability-
An insulting offer to you.

So I put those words away.

You were the first mirror to see my back eyes.
The first man to curse a shooting star,
For the raging flame it was.
The first poem I wrote,
As a woman.

 

Source: The author, 2001. Written in 1997.