Niagara River 1965 by Julie A. Dickson

Unknown group having a picnic in Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Falls, July, 1927 From the Niagara Parks Commission Collection, Niagara Falls Public Library

Forceful rush of water, loud
flowing toward the precipice,
I stood alongside the grassy edge
of the Niagara River, shoes kicked off,
toes independently investigating
blades of grass and dandelions.

Standing away from a blanket
spread with our wicker picnic
basket, cloth napkins and cooler,
my mother’s eyes were shadowed
behind dark glasses, but I knew
they were on me and the wild
river behind, the smell of
a steel plant, an acrid invasion
to mingle odors with moisture filled air.

So close to the water, she shook her head
when I begged to wade, not knowing
the demon force would sweep
a child away like so many memories.

We picnicked with a game
of brightly colored rings, tossed
to my father and to my brother
who leapt up to catch the red one.
My mother sedentary  in contrast to
the activity of family games
beside the raging river.

Julie A. Dickson
Niagara River 1965 written 2018, previously unpublished.

Julie A. Dickson is originally from Buffalo, NY. Her father’s family was from Guelph and Vineland Station, Ontario, Canada in the late 1800’s, they founded the Culverhouse Canning Factory there. Dickson lived near Lake Erie and Niagara Falls until her early teens, when her family relocated to Massachusetts. Always the lakes-girls, her poems often reflect in memories of Lakes Ontario and Erie, and visiting the falls. Her poems appears in many journals including Ekphrastic ReviewMisfitOpen Door and others; full length works on Amazon. Dickson has been a guest editor, past poetry board member, is an advocate for captive elephants and shares her home with two rescued cats.

Julie A. Dickson was the guest editor of the Ekphrastic Review challenge to write a poem inspired by Frederic Edwin Church’s painting Niagara, 1857. See a page about ekphrastic poetry, including the poems from the Ekphrastic Review

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