So She Flows by April Jones

The Spirit of Niagara from the Pan American Exposition, 1901

As we all stand in awe of her beauty, her power and her blessings,

Her hair cascades ever downward draping over her shoulders just as it should so fluently over every obstacle in its path,

And her breath emanating from her soft lips in the brisk air rises so high above, disappearing into the clouds,

Her sloping breasts just visible beneath her loose blouse,

Upon her face a sense of peace, but in her eyes a rampant ferocity as the light flirts and dances with every perfect angle.

How does such beauty, serenity and chaos exist simultaneously?

She remains nameless to those who know better that this is a just a part of a bigger whole that requires no label, just appreciation, but to others she bears the title of Niagara Falls


Source: April Jones, 2019

So She Flows was originally an entry in the 2019 Niagara Falls Writer’s Festival Poetry Contest. The contest was cancelled.

April Jones is a real estate agent as well as being employed with a winery, which she feels allows for her to engage in two passions of hers, and wine is obviously something this region is well known for as well as by trade, which to her is creative and fascinating. Jones loves anything creative from reading to writing to visual art of most any media. She moved to Niagara three years prior with her three children from Toronto and fell in love with the region instantly, and she feels like her love affair with it has only deepened and will continue to. She is grateful to share her experience of a place almost indescribable to her.

Niagara Falls by Parley P. Pratt

Portrait of Parley P. Pratt from The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt

Where now is Nimrod’s mighty tower? Where the
Majestic walls, the warlike battlements,
The splendid palaces, the hanging gardens
Of Babylon?
Where the proud Nebuchadnezzar, who, with
Golden sceptre, swayed the world, and made
The nations tremble ? Where the proud Ninevah, —
The strong Thebes, with its hundred gates ?
The golden Tyre, the splendid Athens, the
Majestic Rome, with all their works of art —
Their monuments of fame, once the pride
And glory of the world ?
Where the mighty Pharaoh’s, the terrible
Alexanders, the invincible Cesars,
The warlike Hannibal ? Tyrants in turn.
Where now the gifted poets, the splendid
Orators, the profound philosophers
Of Greece and Rome, whose mighty genius
Hurled royal tyrants headlong from their thrones, —
Made senates weep or laugh at will, and ruled
The nations ? They are swept away by time ;
Their beauty, like the morning flower, is withered
Their pride and glory gone like leaves of autumn; —
Their grandest works are fast decaying,
Mouldering to ruin, soon to be forgotten.
But still my store house is unexhausted,
My fountain full and overflowing — my
Solid munitions of rocks stand secure. —
My voice as mighty as when the beauteous
Colors of the rainbow first sported in
The sunbeams : —
As when the intelligences of olden worlds
First gazed with admiration upon my
Expanded waters ; or, animated at
The music of my voice joined in the chorus,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy.
###But, boast not, proud Niagara ! Though
Thou mayest withstand the ravages of time, —
While countless millions, swept away with all
Their mighty works, are lost in following years. —
Yet there is a voice to speak, long and loud ;
‘Tis Michael’s trump, whose mighty blast shall rend
Thy rocks, and bow thy lofty mountains in the dust,
Before whose awful presence thy waters
Blush in retiring modesty ; and in
Respectful silence thou shalt stand in listening
Wonder, and admire, while thunders roll
Majestic round the sky, the lightenings play, —
The mountains sink — the valleys rise — till Earth,
Restored to its original, receives
Its final rest, and groans and sighs no more.
### Till then, weep on, and let thy voice ascend
In solemn music to the skies, — ’tis like
A funeral dirge, — ’tis fit to weep o’er the miseries
Of a fallen world in anguish deep.

Source: Pratt, Parley Parker. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels With Extracts, In Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Chicago: Law, King & Law, 1888.

Read about Parley P. Pratt on Wikipedia

Click here to view the article On the Poetics of Self-Knowledge: Poetry in Parley Pratt’s Autobiography by  Joseph M. Spencer from the Journal of Mormon History vol. 37 Issue 1 Winter 2011

Salutation by Evelyn M. Watson

watson salutation
I. To Niagara

watson salutation
Niagara Falls (From near Clifton House), 1837, by W.H. Bartlett engraving by J. Cousen. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

‡‡‡“My heart is fixed; therefore I sing.” ― Bible

Niagara, my singing heart is fixed;
I love the rich contentment of your wood,
Your wind-scourged cliffs and that calm sisterhood
Of islands.    As man-birds crest the wind betwixt
The Falls and the farther skies, on azure highways,
So poets look from heights yet more sublime,
Inviting Nature-lovers from life’s byways
To experience beyond all touch of time,
Aware of rhythm in a heart that’s living
Become attuned to fuller consciousness
Exalting joys that consecrate and bless. . .
Niagara, we join your song Thanksgiving.

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡II   To the Public

Oh love the character of rocks, each tree
Along this course, each grot in solitude
With phantom—eerie ponds—the wind’s mood—
This thundering torrent in its majesty
With Nature’s attitude so grave and stern.
One feels the unity of truth and good
With beauty on life’s course—without return
Both condemnation and Beatitude.
Join now these staves of melody, the chording
Organ-tones with birds in blending choir—
And note heart-aching charms of misty fire:
May Memory receive each jewel for hoarding.

Source: Evelyn M. Watson. Poems of the Niagara Frontier. New York: Dean & Company, 1929.

Click to see more poems from Watson’s Poems of the Niagara Frontier

watson salutation

Apostrophe to Niagara by Horace Dresser

Below Table Rock
Below Table Rock, Drawn from nature for the Proprietor Hermann J. Meyer. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

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.

Niagara by Joseph Hart Clinch

Describe Niagara!     Ah, who shall dare
Attempt the indescribable, and train
Thoughts fragile wing to skim the heavy air,
Wet with the cataracts incessant rain?
The “glowing muse of fire invoked in vain
By Shakespeare, who shall hope from Heaven to win?
And burning words alone become the strain,
Which to the mind would bring the awful din
Where seas in thunder fall, and eddying oceans spin.

Long had the savage on thy glorious shroud,
Fringed with vast foam-wreaths, gazd with stoic eye
And deemed that on thy rising rainbow cloud
The wings of the Great Spirit hovered nigh;
And, as he marked the solemn woods reply
In echoes to thy rolling thunder tone,
He heard His voice upon the breeze go by,
And his heart bowed — for to the heart alone
God speaking through His works, makes what he utters known.

But ages passed away — and to the West
Came Europes sons to seek for fame or gold;
And one, perchance, more daring than the rest,
Lured by the chase or by strange stories told
By Indian guide of oceans downward rolled,
Felt on his throbbing ear thy far-off roar,
Then sped the mighty wonder to behold,
Thy voice around him and thy cloud before,
Till breathless — trembling — rapt — he trod thy foaming shore.
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