An Indian Cave at Ne-a-ga-ra by Evelyn M. Watson

Interior View of Milk Cave, Also Known as Buttermilk Cave, on the Niagara River. New York Power Authority. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Here is the place of lores,
Of heroes that never return,
The site of sagas and Mysteries
Of tales before old Histories
Of council-fires that burn
Hid from the pound of the waters where the
‡‡‡‡Cataract trembles and pours.

Here in the dusky quiet,
Cadenced with birds and tides —
Here in the forest’s circling mood
The sense of truth-in-solitude —
It’s here that legend hides —
And stones and forests and cliffs shut out the
‡‡‡‡world’s tumultous riot.

Only the echoes remain
Like the thought-of-a-thought —
Only the whisper of falls
Like the talk, (in their council walls
Of pine,) together brought,
Discussing their people’s strange plight with
‡‡‡‡Stoic indifference to pain.

Day-hours are lived in the strife
Night-hours are spent in the Essence,
Wildly the waters shall lave,
Silences seal the great cave —
Its fate is a lost evanescence,
(Oh, moment magnificent with thought of primitive life).

Source:  Evelyn M. Watson. Poems of the Niagara Frontier.  New York: Dean & Company, 1929.

See other poems by Watson

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