Now it sits a pile of unstable rust
Amongst the falls
And their murderous rush
Two men on a routine trip
A few hours later Red Hill screaming
Dont lose your grip
A split second decision
Could have ended their lives
Lucky to make it home to their wives
One man risked it all
He figured as long as he tried
There was no fault
The unstable scow
Hung by a tree
Attached by a weak buckle
Inching the rope to answer the mens pleas
With each breath taking stride
Praying not to end it all
With a wavy ride
One man hooked and back on shore
Clipped to the rope
He goes back for one more
To this day
The scow sits, where waves strive
Two men, forever grateful
To be able to enjoy their lives
Source: Tulk, Amanda. Can You Hear It? : Poetry by Amanda Tulk. Niagara Falls, Ont. : Grey Borders Books, 2013
“The last excursion of the year,” I read the other day, Affordin’ opportunity to see grand old Niagara ; And for a dollar and a half, to go up there and back, And see the sights, and ride above two hundred miles of track, Seemed like we’d get our money’s worth, if we could get away, And leave the farm and kitchen cares behind us for a day. We’d been a-wantin’, all these years, to go and see the falls, But, somehow, when the chances came there’ d be so many calls For both our time and money, that the chances slipped away, While year climbed on the top of year, ’til we are growin’ gray ; And still the cares we have to meet are such a clingin’ kind, It’s often mighty difficult to slip them off behind, And dump them in a heap somewhere, or lay them on a shelf, While we get out from under, and can slip off by ourself. But nature seemed to favor us ; the season was so fine We got our summer’s work along a bit ahead of time ; And nothin’ seemed a-crowdin’, like, and coaxin’ to be done, As is the case too frequently, to keep us on the run ; And Nancy hadn’t been away, exceptin’ to the fair, To loosen up the constant strain of daily wear and tear Of wrestlin’ with problems which perplex a woman’s brain, And keep her fingers busy, and her muscles on the strain, For such a long time back that I’m almost ashamed to tell, And if I really wanted to, I couldn’t very well ; And I, myself, had worked so long, as farmers have to do, To keep the work from snarlin’, like, and keep it payin’, too, That I was glad to see a chance to lay aside the strain Which makes the years to tell on me as well as Nancy Jane ; And when I read the notice, why, it seemed to strike us so, That both of us together said, “I guess we’d better go.” And so the thing was settled, and we’d picked our grapes and plums To be ahead of frost or thieves, provided either comes ; For frosts may be expected almost any pleasant night, And thieves, if not expected, are so plenty that they might ; And Nancy had our luncheon baked, and I had bought some cheese, And she had found a paste-board box, as handy as you please To put our picnic dinner in ; so when the mornin’ came, Continue reading “Uncle Alvin at Niagara by Almon Trask Allis”→
A crowd flowed onto the Suspension Bridge. Another onto Prospect Point. A third onto the Three Sisters Islands —all along the railings in the gorge. Across the river, a thousand more poured down to Table Rock. And up the shore, a hundred others— men, women and children— stood by the dock at Truesdale’s cottage, waiting to see me off. There were no clouds that morning, and so much light it seemed ten suns were whirling as I stepped into the skiff—in a tossing sea of handkerchiefs— and waved to them (while Russell blew a kiss) amidst the general hurrah.
Then we set out—with Truesdale straining the tiller against the single, headstrong sail— and Billy Holleran, a strong, strapping boy, manning the furious oars. The barrel rode upright behind us, bucking to run its course —and was jerked back to correction by the stern instruction of our rope. A quarter way out, we stopped on an island where I changed my clothes: no hat or dress now, but a blouse left open at the throat, and a skirt hemmed just below the knee. I made them turn away while I backed in through the rim— then they fastened down the lid, rolled me to the shore, turned me upright— pushed me in.
Four boats now. And behind the first, the towed barrel, weighed down with me— yet still intractable. And in the last, a cameraman recording every stroke as they rowed a mile across to the Point of No Return— where the river starts to churn, and a sailor knows he’d better bend his back —or else go over. There they knocked. And cut the rope. They must have pulled hard then to turn themselves south, but I went north—(a half mile more before I’d reach the brink). I careened and spun. Once it tossed me clear up out of the water. I went unbidden—and unwelcome—where it rushed me.
I wished I could have watched from some place overhead and heard the voices racing down the shore— passing on the message— dock to island, island to rock, rock to bridge: “She’s coming!” I would have liked to see them turn their heads— wave after wave, as each new group heard the murmur and craned their necks to catch a glimpse. I’d have liked to see the trolley racing down the shore, and the incline railway rushing down the gorge —so the ones who’d waved from Truesdale’s dock could be standing on the rocks below the Falls, looking up—to see if anything would come.
from Queen of the Mist, a novel in verse about the first person to go over Niagara in a barrel
In nature, all acts that have gone before
Leave traces, record marks, clues, tracks in store
That many persons pause to ponder o’er.
From inside outwards was the earth’s crust made,
The hollows caved in, the high mountains stayed,
Encircling flames produced the waters vast,
And time and seasons scaled things to the last.
Would thirty thousand years of effort score
On your astonishment a mark, or more?
Then hearken to a tale of work replete
With action in rain, sunshine, frost and sleet.
The speaker is NIAG’RA RIVER, old,
Clear, turbulent, odd, scenic giver, bold.
With strength unshorn by time, and white of brow,
But not from years, I am the center now
For myriads that travel from far and
Near to view my Falls as the cascade grand.
My life is in the cycle of the rain,
My strength from waters the Great Lakes retain.
The first to view the drainage plan, of three
Such large lakes flowing into Erie free,
Thence through me to a fifth and on to sea,
Said, “This is quite rare and not apt to be.”
Important link am I, from fourth to last,
The present scanned, the future viewed, or past.
The deep flow of my misting Horseshoe Falls,
Out does thin water leaping from side walls.
The view and sound effects are rapturous,
The roar, thump grind and spray continuous.
At what they sense, the millions gaze appalled,
Awondering, breath indrawn, stilled, enthralled. Continue reading “The River Niagara by Donald Lashelle”→