An Item on my Old Bucket List by Rose Mary Boehm

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

Niagara—some say the name is a bastardised form of the Iroquois “Onguiaahra.” They say it means “The Strait.” Now “Niagara” has become associated with a thunderous image. That I can feel.

I only ever imagined its deafening voice,
its power, its white foam, its cold spray,
imagined myself in a slicker with a hood–
preferably blue (or red)–
on a boat, getting nearer, nearer, nearer,
before we are being sucked into unimaginable
depths, Charybdis and Scylla,
my fellow passengers quiet
in the face of such a relentless force.
When I close my eyes
I see dark clouds pulling up,
attracted like magnets to a cauldron
of deep water, angry foam, killer rocks.
The door to Hades.
Who will pay the ferryman?

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

Rose Mary Boehm

Rose Mary Boehm
 is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as eight poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was three times nominated for a ‘Pushcart’ and once for ‘Best of Net’. DO OCEANS HAVE UNDERWATER BORDERS? (Kelsay Books July 2022), WHISTLING IN THE DARK (Cyberwit July 2022), and SAUDADE (December 2022) are available on Amazon. Also available on Amazon is a new collection, LIFE STUFF, published by Kelsay Books November 2023.

Read about the origins, pronunciation, and variants of the Word Niagara

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