The Over-Song of Niagara by John Daniel Logan

Why stand ye, nurslings of Earth, before my gates,
    Mouthing aloud my glory and my thrall?
Are ye alone the playthings of the fates,
    And only ye o'ershadowed with a pall?
Turn from this spectacle of strength unbound —
    This fearful force that spends itself in folly!
Turn ye and hark above the organ-sound
    My Over-song of Melancholy!

        "I rush and roar
        Along my shore, —
            I go sweeping, thundering on;
        Yet my days, O man,
        Are but as a span,
            And soon shall my strength be gone!
        My times are measured
        In whose hand I am treasured,
            (Think not of thy little day!)
        Though I rush and roar
        Along my shore,
            I am passing away —   
                Passing away!

        "The sun and the moon
        They too shall soon
            Sink back into eternal Night :
        All earth and the sea
        Shall cease to be,
            And the stars shall melt in their flight!
        Their times are measured
        In whose hand they are treasured,
            (Think not of thy little day!)
        The celestial throng
        Chant my Over-song, —
            ' Passing away, —
                Passing away!' "

Then stand not, nurslings of Earth, before my gates,
    Mouthing aloud my glory and my thrall :
Not ye alone are playthings of the fates,
    Nor only ye o'ershadowed with a pall!

        But hark to my song
        As I sweep along,
            Thundering my organ-tone —
        "O vain is all Life,
        O vain is all Strife,
            And fruitless the Years that have flown!
        As the Worst; so the Best —
        All haste to their rest
            In the void of the Primal Unknown."

Source: Logan, John Daniel. Songs of the Makers of Canada and Other Homeland Lyrics. Toronto: William Briggs, 1911.

Mrs. Anna Edson Taylor, Goddess of Water by P.M. Reynolds

reynolds taylor
Annie Edson Taylor and her Barrel. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Since earth’s creation down the stormy way,
All human feats have been surpassed today.
Mrs. Edson Taylor, in her barrel sound,
Through the wild rapids did in safety bound.

Peerless Niagara to maddened fury grew,
Raging more strongly not to let her through.
But on she went and all the rapids crossed;
By their turbulence she was roughly tossed.

Her venturous voyage still she did pursue,
With undaunted courage nearing the horseshoe.
Once at its brink, a second seemed to stop,
Then came the awful and the wondrous drop.

In her barrel, victorious and alone,
As when great Vulcan was from Heaven thrown,
A minute later on placid waters green
In rising foam the barrel then was seen.

Fast heading inland for the rocky shore,
As from fifty thousand came a cheerful roar.
Time’s wide dial, her brilliant name will show
Till time’s no more, as on the ages go.

Cataract Journal, October 28, 1901.

Source: Whalen, Dwight. The Lady Who Conquered Niagara: The Annie Edson Taylor Story. Brewer, Maine: EGA Books, 1990.

Niagara Falls by Onkar Preet

The Rendezvous,
where two falls meet… under a Maple tree.

The Trail,
where dreams walk… locking fingers together.

The Height,
where birds kiss… the unfallen water.

The City,
where Earth gets… “Seven heaven chocolate”.

The Moment,
where heart seasons… exchange a love flower.

The Stair-step,
where spring stands,raising her arms… and shout “hurray!”.

The Border,
where desires look across a passport… through binoculars.

Niagara Falls …is not only a FALL.

© 2001 Onkar Preet – Toronto (Canada)
Source: The author, 2001

The Leap of Niagara by Henry Pickering

Roar loud, ye winds! ye awful thunders peal!
    And instant rouse them from their fatal sleep,
    Ere (cruel chance) they sink amid the deep,
    Whose secrets Death permits not to reveal.

They wake! O heavens!  What now avails their zeal?
    Precipitous their maddening course they keep;
    And reeling now they make the shuddering leap,
    Down-dashed mid watery worlds with all their weal!

And thus are they forgot! Not such the fate
    Of that immortal maid — enchantress sweet —
    Who from Lucadias rock (provoked by Hate)
    Plunged fearless in the waves that round it beat.

Her name the sighing winds still breathe around,
And Sappho, all the mournful caves resound.

Source: Myron T. Pritchard, comp. Poetry of Niagara. Boston: Lothrop Publishing Co., 1901.

The Leap of Niagara was originally published in Henry Pickering’s The Ruins of PæstumAnd Other Compositions in Verse. Salem: Cushing and Appleton, 1822

Niagara by Laurence Overmire

Laurence Overmire

Niagara sends her watery heralds
Dashing to the depths of hell

Great spiraling mists invade the trembling air
Spewing forth the devil’s legions
Into billowing shrouds of aqueous fire

The rocks explode
Like a thousand roaring lions
Leaping headlong in carnivorous chase

Trumpets sound on the errant wind
And blazing there
From jagged cliffs-

A banner bold
Arcs across the awakening scene-

The Seven Colored Bow
Christened by angelic wings
Shoots its burning arrow deep

Into the darkest doubt of blinking Man
And sets his new-made heart afire

Behold the final triumph of the victor
And know the majesty
Of God.

Source: The Author, 2001.

Laurence Overmire’s website