The Train to South Dakota by Jane Urquhart

urquhart train

urquhart train
Ad for the Great Western & Michigan Central Railroad Line. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

The train
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡to south dakota
and grandmother sits
on red plush seats
her eldest son

at home he spends his hours
with his face against
the slippery necks of horses

at home
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡and here
he cannot speak

he cannot speak the landscape
passing by the windows
or nights when view
becomes reflection

and other faces in the glass
with his own

he cannot say
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡the moon is in the water of
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡the ditch beside the tracks

so all through the journey
grandmother listens
to the abandon of the whistle

and listens day and night
to the wheels
beneath the train

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡which say

someone there will fix him
someone there will fix him


Source: Urquhart, Jane. False Shuffles. Victoria: Press Porcépic, 1982. Section entitled The Undertaker’s Bride. 

Click to see more of Urquhart’s The Undertaker’s Bride poems 

The Test of Cantilever by James Walton Jackson

Sketch of the testing of the cantilever bridge 1883
Sketch of the testing of the cantilever bridge 1883 Courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library

Lo! Cantilever stands the test,
See! see! it bears upon its breast
Fully twenty locomotives’ weight,
Nor bends beneath the heavy freight.
See! twenty engines safely ride
Across Niagara’s seething tide –
Across the mystic iron span –
Last product of the god-like man.
“The Cantilever bridge is strong!”
Exultant shout the wondering throng.
Lo! fifty locomotives screech,
Two nations’ praise blends each with each,
Resounds the East, resounds the West,
The matchless triumph each attest.
The loud applause – the palm each yields
To Cantilever and to Fields.

First published May 10, 1884 in …ridge Journal