Fondly Remembered Old Queenston by Lini Grol

Grol Queenston
Laura Secord Scissorcut by Lini Grol

Grol Queenston
A small town
huddling far below
the high BROCK monument,
in honor of the hero
of that historic war
of eighteen twelve.

Far below,
in old Queenston
one little house
speaks of the simple life
of one who also had shared
the atrocity and misery
of that war and had shown
extreme bravery.

LAURA SECORD’s humble old house
facing the blue Niagara,
only whispers of her valour,
but right next door
her fame sells galore
delicious ice cream and sumptuous candy
in the little ice cream parlour.

No, it was not General BROCK
who gave Queenston its fame.
Rather a clever candy maker
knowing the importance of
a woman’s name in the candy trade
who made Queenston famous
with his ice-cream and chocolate
in LAURA SECORD’s name.

Source: Grol, Lini, ed. by Kevin McCabe and Lynne Prunskus. Lake to Lake: Lini Grol’s Niagara.  St. Catharines: Blarney Stone Books, c2000.

Click to see more poems about the Battle of Queenston Heights and other Poems of the War of 1812 in Niagara

Ode to a Bytown Youth by J. A. Murphy

“Enshrined in the records of Canadian achievement a century ago, is the fascinating and thrilling story of a daring feat performed at Brock’s monument on Queenston Heights by a young Bytonian — Matthew Murphy, father of Mr. J.A. Murphy of 412 McLeod Street. Mr. Murphy has penned the following lines relating to the historic incident but fuller details will be found in a story elsewhere on this page.” Ottawa Citizen, December 17, 1938

S.E. View of Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights as it appeared May 9, A.D.1841
“S.E. View of Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights as it appeared May 9, A.D.1841”
              I
Well nigh a century ago, Beside Niagara's river, On Queenston Heights was struck a blow Brock's monument to shiver.
A dastard alien's coward hand Had piled within its bottle A quarter hundred powder bags The tower to o'ertopple.
When fired, the blast was strong enough The wooden stair to shatter, Mortar and stone proved all too tough, For such a piffling matter.
As angry embryo nation rose To right the wrong intended, From town and country, copse and close, Their various ways they wended.
Not trains nor aeroplanes, nor cars Conveyed these sturdy yeomen. None carried arms though some bore scars, But all were worthy foemen.
They rode, they ran, they sailed, they swam O'er trails through swamps, wet, dreary; Berries and leaves their stomachs cram, Footsore they were, and weary.
From nearby hills and dales they come, From broad Ontario's beaches, Where'er a spark or loyal flame Gave urge to man the breaches.
Another such determined host Not all our land could muster They frightened rebels from our coast And quelled the Yankee bluster.
Continue reading "Ode to a Bytown Youth by J. A. Murphy"

MacDonnell On The Heights by Stan Rogers

Too thin the line that charged the Heights
And scrambled in the clay.
Too thin the Eastern Township Scot
Who showed them all the way,
And perhaps had you not fallen,
You might be what Brock became
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

To say the name, MacDonnell,
It would bring no bugle call
But the Redcoats stayed beside you
When they saw the General fall.
Twas MacDonnell raised the banner then
And set the Heights aflame,
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

You brought the field all standing with your courage and your luck
But unknown to most, you’re lying there beside old General Brock.
So you know what it is to scale the Heights and fall just short of fame
And have not one in ten thousand know your name.

At Queenston now, the General on his tower stands alone
And there’s lichen on ‘MacDonnell’ carved upon that weathered stone
In a corner of the monument to glory you could claim,
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

You brought the field all standing with your courage and your luck
But unknown to most, you’re lying there beside old General Brock.
So you know what it is to scale the Heights and fall just short of fame
And have not one in ten thousand know your name.

Written and recorded by Stan Rogers. Copyright Fogarty’s Cove Music 

N.B. Although written in the song as MacDonnell, the correct spelling is John Macdonell.

Click to see more poems about the Battle of Queenston Heights and other Poems of the War of 1812 in Niagara

 

Brock’s Monument by Betty J. Beam

(a children’s poem)

Brock’s Monument at Queenston Heights by Reg Deacon. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library
I climbed up Brock's Monument
    With a leap, a skip, a hop.
I climbed up Brock's Monument
    From the bottom to the top.
I climbed up Brock's Monument
    And I did it without one stop.
BUT --
Two hundred and thirty-five steps
    And I'm ready to drop!

General Brock rode Alfred
    On the daring fateful ride.
Sword drawn, he scaled Queenston Heights,
    British Red Coats at his side
The Americans could not
    Gain the summit, though they tried.
BUT --
Musket and cannon came alive
    And the man and horse died!

I climbed up Brock's Monument
    When tulips were in flower.
I climbed up Brock's Monument
    In less than half an hour.
I climbed up Brock's Monument
    Using my muscle power.
BUT --
I'm glad there's an elevator
    In the CN Tower!

Source: The Author, 2001

Laura Secord by Jean Blewett

Laura Secord. Image courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library

I search the pages of our history over
For a courageous one whose name would stand
For staunchest patriot, and for truest lover,
And prove the same by deed done for the land;
And my heart thrills, for ’tis a woman bears it,
You’ll find it, marble carved, on Laura Secord’s grave;
And you, and I, and every woman shares it,
The right to stand for what is good and brave.

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

Originally published in: Jean Blewett. Jean Blewett’s Poems. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1922.

Click to see more poems about the Battle of Beaverdams and other Poems of the War of 1812 in Niagara