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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Niagara Below the Cataract by Clara Jessup Moore

Clara Jessup Moore
Clara Jessup Moore

Within a temples towering walls I stand  ̶
    A temple vast; the heaven is its dome.
No corniced crag was hewn by human hand
    Nor by it wrought the tracery of foam;
The inlaid floor of emerald and pearl
    Heaves at the hidden organs thunderous peal,
While round and up the clouds of incense curl,
    Shrouding the chancel where the billows kneel.
Ah! bow your heads. It is a fitting place
    For solemn thought, for deep and earnest prayer;
For here the finger of our God I trace,
    Beneath, above, around me, everywhere;
He hollowed out this grand and mighty nave,
And robed his altar with the ocean wave!

Source: Moore, Clara Jessup. Miscellaneous Poems; Stories for Children; The Warden’s Tale; and Three Eras in a Life.  2nd ed.  Porter & Coates, 1875

Note: Moore used a variety of pseudonyms. This poem has also been published under the name Mrs. C. J. Moreton

Eternal – Beautiful – Serene – Sublime by C. W. Rowland

rowland
Niagara Falls by Andrew Porteus

Eternal — prototype of God!
When first the morning stars did sing,
And the all-glorious sun was placed on high;
How didst thou rear thy awful crest
At His own bidding, and thy thunders spoke
Of the creation born — and ever onward
Through successive ages still is thy impetuous course,
Bespeaking praise to Him, thy great Creator:
Lo, the poor Indian doth bend before thee —
And in thy presence feels that God is nigh!
And the Great Spirit near him to protect:
All recognize in thee — power, greatness — vastness!

Beautiful, most beautiful, whether
In thy murmuring music
Or thy reverberating, echoing thunders,
And thy feathery spray, and rainbows,
Bespeaking hope and faith;
And as thou dashest o’er the ledge,
Behold the gorgeous emerald green,
Woven through with silvery thread —
And then thy milky flood below,
And eddies and o’erhanging rocks,
Call forth the exclamation, “beautiful.”

Serene — thou art and in thy presence
We do feel sweet peace to steal
O’er us, and that the soul all lost
To earth and all around, doth wing
Its thoughts to other scenes,
And we do dwell afar ‘mong those
Long lost and dwellers in a better land.
The mind is lulled to a repose
And we feel
Ready to lean on God and trust in Him.

Sublime — surpassing far all else
Of thy own nature — thou art monarch
Over all and doth feel thy power —
Who shall stop thy way,
Or say unto thy floods, flow not?
Thou wouldst dash aside the net
Woven by vain man to hold thee,
And rend them as the brittle reed.
I have paid my tribute to thee,
And now I will repose — thou hast been
To me a lesson deep and ineffaccable —
And I leave this spot, I trust, a better man.

Philadelphia, August 2, 1847.

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848

Also in the anthology Niagara Mornings by Andrew C. Porteus, 2016.

Long Live the All Day Breakfast Diner by Bartholomew Bakelaar

Interior of the Hi-Lite Restaurant in Niagara Falls
Interior of the Hi-Lite Restaurant in Niagara Falls

Long live the All Day Breakfast diner
that makes this world of rainy days finer! —
The coffee cup, the stirring spoon
mixing sugar & cream, first sip soon
And then– all things better —
no matter the weather, a blessing or a curse
beautiful or ugly, its all the same universe.
The constant hustle streams by on sidewalk while
the serene sips inside produce an effortless smile
We owe it to ourselves
to put the tools down for a minute
& turn our backs on the machine, forget it.

Bartholomew Bakelaar by Nichole Bakelaar
Bartholomew Bakelaar by Nichole Bakelaar

Sip a coffee in a booth, forget seeking truth,
fall silent in peace, let it all be.
Have a second, third , a fourth cup of coffee
there’s no hurry, nowhere to go, nowhere to be.
The galaxy wheels overhead in perfect harmony
with all there is, even as you sit
enjoying yr own company
at the All Day Breakfast diner, tell me
what could be finer?

Source: The Author, 2017

Niagara by Sarah Pratt

niagara sarah pratt

niagara sarah pratt
Portage Around the Falls of Niagara at Table Rock, by George Catlin, 1847/1848

Niagara, I love to hear thy voice,
And while I look on thy array of waters
Careering onward with resistless force,
And showing forth all the might and power of Him
Who ruleth over all — ’tis then my soul
Is filled with awe, and I can realize
That God is here, that he is present now.
Oh! let a song of praise ascend to Him
Who gives us all things richly to enjoy,
And while we gaze upon this glorious scene,
Let us remember thou dost shadow forth
The glory of Omnipotence.
Awe-struck we gaze on these o’erhanging rocks,
And mark thy waters as they onward flow,
And hear, Niagara! thy unceasing roar.
We watch the clouds of spray as they ascend,
And view the bright inimitable green,
Too dazzling to the eye, and then we feel
That scenes like these, stupendous and sublime,
Must lose their greatness when compared with Him
Whose presence fills the immensity; then while ’tis ours
To gaze upon His works, may we be led
To worship and adore; to live for Him,
That when earth’s scenes shall fail before our eyes,
We may behold more glorious worlds above,
And through the sacrifice of Him who gave
His life for fallen man, dwell ever more
Where love, and joy, and peace forever reign.

New York, August 12, 1847.

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848

niagara sarah pratt