they landed with their camera
to see all of Canada,
but most of all,
that great NIAGARA FALL.
Worldy-wise they ignore
the neon signs enticing them
to spend their precious time,
and dole out their hard-won yens.
Eagerly they go on
then falter to a silent stare
at the Niagara in its roaring Fall …
Intimidated, for a moment
they marvel at its immense powers.
they quietly drink
in with glowing delight
the scent and sight
of the billions of flowers,
who silently ring
the roaring powers
of the Niagara Falls.
Source: Grol, Lini, ed. by Kevin McCabe and Lynne Prunskus. Lake to Lake: Lini Grol’s Niagara. St. Catharines: Blarney Stone Books, c2000.
There at the chasm’s edge behold her lean
Trembling as, ‘neath the charm,
A wild bird lifts no wing to ‘scape from harm;
Her very soul drawn to the glittering green,
Smooth, lustrous, awful, lovely curve of peril;
While far below the bending sea of beryl
Thunder and tumult — whence a billowy spray
Enclouds the day.
What dream is hers? no dream hath wrought that spell!
The long waves rise and sink;
Pity that virgin soul on passion’s brink,
Confronting Fate — swift, unescapable, —
Fate, which of nature, is the intent and core,
And dark and strong as the steep river’s pour,
Cruel as love, and wild as love’s first kiss!
Ah, God! the abyss!
Source: Myron T. Pritchard, comp. Poetry of Niagara. Boston: Lothrup Publishing Co., 1901
First published in his The Great Remembrance and Other Poems, New York: The Century Co., 1893
NIAGARA, how charms thy name
Resounding from thy high walled sheer!
How sweet thy water's far acclaim
That bursts upon my pricking ear!
How beams my eye with kindling flame
As to thy presence I draw near,
Where beautied grandure's falling swell
Weaves still time's awful, mystic spell!
I gaze at thee from nearest shore,
Close by the impending brink,
In wonder at thy fearful pour
Of waters, til, amazèd more
Than I can tell or think,
I only see thy mist's fine shower
That wafts upon these walls,
And vision dim that mighty Power,
The Great Spirit of the Falls.
But lo ! up stream, in fitful dream,
The rolling, rumbling rapids roar,
And toss and tilt and turn and teem,
And gurgle in their cascades' gleam
From isle to isle and isle to shore;
And oft repeat the dazzling feat,
Display their leaping wonders more,
Rush round the rocks with flaring locks,
Lead as bellweathers do their flocks,
While through their tree-trimmed way they pour,
These bounding waters, fleet, more fleet,
To gather in one onward rush
Adown their troubled, rocky bed,
And struggle, straggle, gurgle, gush,
To follow where their leaders led;
But panting now for breath,
They stagger to the edge
Of overhanging ledge,
Fearing the plunge beneath;
When forth in foam their fellows come,
Cheering and jeering the faltering and fearing,
Till onto the precipice they rush with a roar,
Exulting and leaping, as comrades before;
Yet staring, stumbling, crashing, crumbling,
As host with host o'erpowering,
Each glistening wight of air commingled,
They fall in gulf devouring;
Or, flaring, flashing, darting, dashing,
To break as gleaming snow,
While splitting, splashing, gnawing, gnashing
Upon the rocks below;
Whence o'er the heights their spirits towering,
Sweeping, swaying, rising, lowering,
Rejoin the ceaseless flow,
That with recurring, falling shock,
Born on the wind's bluff blast,
Wears e'er amain the shelving rock,
And undermines aghast.
There as by mighty hand,
A cavern forms, carved by the storms
Of vexed spray's pelting wave;
And in that rocky cave
Rough columns stand with altar grand;
While fittingly conforms
The spray-worn dome and bowlder pave,
Round which reëcho e'er a stave
Of wailing wind's weird band;
And there before the cavern door,
Attended with intoning roar,
E'er falls the Bridal Veil
And sweeps the filmy rail,
Which now through Bridal Hall are fanned,
Now screen that Wind's Cave from the land.
Continue reading "Niagara by Arthur William Fisher"→
I HEAR flood voices in thy cavern halls,
Deep unto deep there uttereth grave speech;
The sounds of torrent minstrelsy here reach
To heaven from the profound within thy walls;
Upon my deafened ear in terror falls,
Thy roar, as of some dread volcano’s breach,
Or ocean storm-waves hurled upon the beach!
Earth trembleth at thy passing mighty flood!
From the unfathomed chambers of the deep,
These voices of thy many waters keep,
In thunder-tones and grand majestic mood,
One everlasting anthem praising God!
Thy fearful pathway leads thee o’er a steep,
Which thou thyself alone dost dare to leap!
I feel to worship now — here from this seat,
High o’er the beetling cliffs above the brink
Of thy abyss, I wonder, gaze, and think : —
How restless is thy surge beneath my feet!
For ever rolling rushing on to meet
Old Ocean’s boundless depths, for aye to sink
Deep in oblivion, whence we mortals shrink!
Heaven archeth o’er thy gates, great deluge-born!
With bow that sprang from world-submerging waves:
Below its circling reach thy maddened flood here raves;
And chronicles on walls of adamant deep worn,
The years that have been since thy birth-day morn!
For ever lost the bark that rashly braves
The war of adverse waters — no arm saves!
Proud kings and purpled potentates of earth,
With trophies borne in march from battle-plain,
Where sleep the glorious dead in havoc slain,
Sound clarion loud and seek the distant hearth,
Through arch-triumphal reared at place of birth;
How mean are they beside my monarch train,
Thy going forth to join the Stormy Main!
Source: Swickhamer, Conrad, ed. United States Democratic Review. New Series, vol. 17, no. 6, December 1858. p. 475-476.