The book lay closed; each page encased in ice,
till languid eons breathed candescent mist,
releasing knowledge, drip by ponderous drip…
* * *
Twelve thousand years ago, Niagara shaped
its first intent; a trickled thoroughfare
along a chasm scarcely there. It swelled,
became a torrent — nudging, pushing, filled
with rampant longings, surging onward, thrust
of power building, frothing thunder leaping!
The source has birthed a sorcerer who hurls
ebullient roars of ecstasy, wears robes
of lucent majesty. The crowds are hushed,
bewitched by spells of wonderment and awe.
* * *
The book was opened; secrets poured from cores
of weighted centuries and wisdom flowed –
in fluid script that no one understood.
(a found poem from the unpublished writings of Bishop John Strachan)
My brother, after some hesitation,
ventured down the precipice;
and, having reached the bed
of the river below,
we were well rewarded.
It was now
that my expectations were realized:
the height of the rock —
the thundering of the Fall —
the spray forming in rain-bows —
the vast volume of water
rolling over the impending precipice,
produced a sensation overpoweringly
Source: Colombo, John Robert; and Strachan, John. John Toronto: New Poems by Dr. Strachan Found by John Robert Colombo. [Ottawa] : Oberon Press, 1969.
From the dust jacket: The poems are taken verbatim from Strachan’s uncollected writings. They are poems by virtue of the special character of their eloquence. They are new in that they speak with fresh urgency and directness to a new age.
The withered grass emerged from its coccoon,
its muted green faintly aglow amid the stones.
A wintry howl still echoed in the wind,
in the churning of waters down below.
Their cast-off plunder eddied round and round
as chilly mists ascended
to the hanging oblivion of the funicular,
in an increasing throbbing of cables all aquiver.
And yet in this vacation spot
there will be daffodils and other flowers
alien to the beginning of my life,
when the unspeakable river flowed so gently
within its honey shores.
I know I will return again year after year,
I will return again
wearing a little smile of wonderment
perched on my lips like a question mark.
Original version published in Canadian Literature, no. 142/143, (Fall/Winter 1994). Vancouver: British Columbia University Press. p. 10. This version courtesy of the author, 2001.