Niagara Captive: a Poem by Edward Zaremba


Horseshoe Falls with a Storm, 1847, by Henry Samuel Davis, hand-tinting by Erna Jahnke. Courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library

Niagara captive!   And by ribbons led!
His mighty force with that of toiling head
And hand to join.   So changed since ancient days
When red men chanted hymns of praise;
In flower-laden white canoe
Each spring their fairest maiden sent into
The Thunder of the Waters.

Niagara an adult and to Effort bred —
No more to play the livelong day,
But proudly share the sweat and grime
Of stalwart manhood’s laboring prime.
The evergrowing purpose runs; —
Earth’s wealth is measured, not the sun’s;
The stewards of great treasure may
Not waste Tomorrow’s dire need
For Pleasure’s or for Profit’s greed.

Oh, Hercules, still at thy labors keep!
Canst take the raging current from the flood
And swiftly, silent ’round a cable sweep?
Ye Seven Wonders of the ancient world,
Long since into oblivion hurled,
Your kings and gods born to commemorate —
‘Tis to the people do we dedicate
The Wonders of Today.


Source: Charles Mason Dow. Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls. Albany: State of New York, 1921.  p840-841.

Originally published in Metallurgical and Chemical Engineering, March, 1913

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