Nik Wallenda Walks a Wire Across Niagara Falls by Diana Cole

Niagara, 1857 by Frederic Edwin Church
Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art



Into a theatre of wind and mist 
            a cable dips, disappears. 
He moves steadily, 
            each step shortening
                        the improbable.
                                    He dissolves into thunder.
The camera loses      then finds his face 
            soaked, focused 
                        on distance relenting.
In shoes his mother made 
            elk-skin suede
                        his feet curl along the wire. 
He tells the cameraman 
            his arms are numb.
                        Weighs the long pole
                                    in sighs, side to side.
And we can see 
            the waters waiting
                        the letting go
                                 the urge to.
He inches ahead
            each second of inertia 
                        a pinpoint 
                                    from which we too
                                                step forward.  

This poem was previously published in Muddy River Poetry Review. 

This poem, inspired by Frederic Edwin Church’s 1857 painting Niagara, was also published in The Ekphrastic ReviewOctober 20, 2023 in their Ekphrastic Challenges series. Read about ekphrastic poetry in Niagara

diana cole
Diana Cole

Diana Cole, a Pushcart Prize nominee, has published in numerous journals including Poetry East, Spillway, Main Street Rag, Cider Press Review, Friends Journal, The New Verse News and Orison Books. Her chapbook, Songs By Heart was published in 2018 by Iris Press and her latest book, Between Selves, in 2023 by Indian Press, Recently, she was awarded 2nd place in the Notable Works 2024 Poetry Initiative.  She is a senior editor for The Crosswinds Poetry Journal



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