Niagara by Kathy Gilbert

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Deer in the Winter
Image courtesy of PxHere

The river carries me here
As a babe on its island’s shores I play
Palms and fingers squish soft sand, feet kick,
On my back, sun warmed laps of waves.

Currents change with the seasons
Moody green, then blue; milky, then grey
Factory polluted in a haphazard way.
In autumn steam rises after first frost

Buckhorn’s creek freezes over in white
Our skates’ steel cuts crust to granules of light
We hear the creak of the sheet unable
to bear our weight; it cracks, we lie on the ice

crawl to shore; imagine the classmate trapped
head under the lip of ice, face turned blue
frozen in his boots, red cap and jacket;
first of our generation to pay the price

like deer seeking to drink fresh water
stranded on ice floe; eyes wide in fear
headed for the Rapids, then the Falls.
Sooner or later the current carries us all.


Source: Kathy Gilbert, 2021

Award winning poet Kathy Gilbert grew up in Niagara Falls, NY, attending St John de La Salle, Prince of Peace, and 66th Street schools before moving to Grand Island.  She currently resides  in Northern California where she received an MFA in poetry from San Francisco State University. In 2020, she published a poetry collection, Aprils Three. Other poems have appeared in Transfer, Anomalous, Swampwriting, The Steel Toe Review, The Community of Writers, and,Vistas & Byways. She is currently working on a book about Niagara Falls.

Winter Falls by Rich Roach

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Niagara Falls in Winter, 1890s. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Sleep, sleep, Niagara, deep beneath the ice;
    Your native thunder quell, that peace may reign
About your mammoth frame; let calm entice
    Your weary waters, evermore a fane
For weary hearts to perch, spellbound in awe:
    Carve caverns from the layered ice and snow,
That out the gap you breathe both rough and raw;
    Along your sides let chilly north winds blow,
And cystallize the limbs of every tree
    Guarding the lofty borders of your brim;
Let famished seagulls from your chill face flee,
    That nothing stay the zealous eye to skim
        Your placid whiteness, lost in rare displays
        Of wonder, dreamy scenes for all to praise

Source: The author, 2001.

Niagara Falls by C.D. Onofrio

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Niagara Falls in Winter. Photo by Andrew Porteus

Niagara Falls in the winter time. The empty rooms of
skyscraper hotels facing the river that cuts the ridge of the
rock. The waterfall moans for miles through the streets, the
only sound over the fresh mute of snowfall. The lights of
the mid-way; fun houses, freak shows, horror houses; all lit
up and no one to see. Hatchet men, monsters, ghouls,
having staring matches with wax celebrities, and rock stars
and criminals. And me, sitting in stone. My breathe the only
thought that fills the air.

Source: The Author, 2017

Niagara in Winter by Susan Frances Harrison (“Seranus”)

Nor similes nor metaphors avail!
All imagery vanishes, device
Dies in thy presence, wondrous dream of ice!
Ice-bound I stand, my face is pinched and pale,
Before such awful majesty I fail,
Sink low on this snow-lichened slab of gneiss,
Shut out the gleaming mass that can entice,
Enchain, enchant, but in whose light I quail.

While I from under frozen lashes peer,
My thoughts fly back to take a homeward course.
How dear to dwell in sweet placidity,
Instead of these colossal crystals, see
The slender icicles of some fairy “force,”
And break the film upon an English mere!

Source: Professor Gregory Betts, Brock University, Department of English. First published 1891.