How can you come to boldly gape
At some red mother, in cowling cape
Who sews stiff beads on stiffer pillows —
“Souvenirs” — but here are willows,
And here the trails and paths of their feet
In regal days found sweet.
That small papoose with wrinkled chin
Now gravely offers — a moccasin,
And there a princess, with features weathered,
Wears weeds — oh, once an arrow feathered
She flashed — or rather some ancestress
In doe-skin, festal dress.
But if they offer beads, then buy,
Theirs this ancient forestry —
Theirs the windy sun-steeped willows
With roots beneath the pouring billows —
Theirs a grim regality
Chiding, chiding me.
Source: Evelyn M. Watson. Poems of the Niagara Frontier. New York: Dean & Company, 1929.
“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”→
they landed with their camera
to see all of Canada,
but most of all,
that great NIAGARA FALL.
Worldy-wise they ignore
the neon signs enticing them
to spend their precious time,
and dole out their hard-won yens.
Eagerly they go on
then falter to a silent stare
at the Niagara in its roaring Fall …
Intimidated, for a moment
they marvel at its immense powers.
they quietly drink
in with glowing delight
the scent and sight
of the billions of flowers,
who silently ring
the roaring powers
of the Niagara Falls.
Source: Grol, Lini, ed. by Kevin McCabe and Lynne Prunskus. Lake to Lake: Lini Grol’s Niagara. St. Catharines: Blarney Stone Books, c2000.
We saw it all. We saw the souvenir shops, and sitting
on the mist above the falls, the brilliant signs
saying hotels to love in, cigarettes to smoke,
souvenirs for proof; we give you anything you want,
even towels. Our disgust was as stylized as billboards,
and we suggested to ourselves that even our sympathy
for the ugly people of the off-season was outworn.
But here it was, nevertheless, the ferocious, spastic
enjoyment, the hotels like freight-yards or packing crates,
the lights that murder sight, and the community snicker.
The falls, of course, continued with great dignity.