To Avoid an Unpleasant Tryst by Christopher Ellis

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Niagara Falls from the Maid of the Mist Boat, 2022
Photo by Andrew Porteus

A young girl who’d never been kissed
To avoid an unpleasant tryst
She paddled her skiff
O’er the watery cliff
Becoming the Maid of the Mist


Source: Laroque, Corey. Here’s What the Poets are Saying. Niagara Falls, Ont.: Niagara Falls Review, November 21, 2009

This limerick was entered into the So You Think You Can Rhyme (2009) Limerick Contest to find Niagara Falls’ Poet Laureate

Go to the Limericks page

Lena: A Legend of Niagara by Conway E. Cartwright

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Table Rock, Niagara
by Edward Ruggles, 1867
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Cartwright wrote this long poem about Lena, The Maid of the Mist, based on settler narratives of the Native peoples of Niagara Falls

See this book at Hathi Trust

Originally published Dublin: William McGee, 1860

Conway Edward Cartwight (1837-1920) was a Canadian poet and cleric.

What Does it Mean to Fall: a Poem by Stephanie Froebel

What does it mean to fall?
To be swept away on a course
To be carried by an entity other than yourself?
To be in your heart still, while ever-changing?

To fall in love
To fall down
To fall apart
To fall inline

The dictionary says falling is a freely descent
but are our falls ever done
out of freedom? Freedom in the sense of choice?
Is the fall as Romantic literature sometimes describes
the process of demise
or the final realization that a character was or is not wise?
Does anyone truly choose to fall?
Whether out of love or despair—Oh,
whoever seems to care
when you yourself are falling.
Does water choose to forever fall?
To be labeled as the choiceless descent
called freely?

Are we falling through the sky or
pulled by another force? Why 
are we choosing any of it, but a perspective
in which we self identify?

Is Niagara falls truly falling
or by choice, jumping down?


froebel
Stephanie Froebel

 

 

Source: Stephanie Froebel. Niagara Falls Changed My Perception on Life. YouTube Video, 2021.  https://youtu.be/MnOxwjOngNM

Froebel also wrote an essay entitled Humans’ Imposition of Hierarchy: How Humans are Destroying the Planet Through Language

See more from Froebel:

Website https://www.stephaniefroebel.com/
Froebel’s Social Media
Instagram

Goodreads

Spotify

YouTube

Niagara by Naomi Shihab Nye

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Maid of the Mist Near the American Side of Niagara Falls.
Photo by Chris McIntosh on Unsplash

Arriving early, before the lovers
have climbed up from their seastruck beds,
she stands where mist can penetrate
the way 7 a. m. changes the world—
softening, quickening little
hopes. She thought the Falls

were out in the country, not in a town.
To be wrong so many times, like finding the pyramids
adjacent to the Cairo bus stop,
or even herself alone in upstate New York
in the middle of a summer when she can imagine
pitching so many things overboard,
not a body in a barrel, not that,
but stacks of manuscripts, yellow stick-um notes,
even what she said yesterday,

into the surging megatons,
the burst of fabulous power that could light our lights
from here to Cincinnati or whatever the loudspeaker shouts
when she rides the boat that dips a herd of slickers
into the blinding white roar, the baptismal boat
where Japanese and Puerto Rican come up equally
wet. Despite the blurred narrtive,
she won’t forget how she lifted her face into the spray.

Before leaving, she drives around
the Canadian side, entering the thrift mart,
dimestore, buying a jug of bilingual bubble bath—
then spins toward the bridge again, refreshed,
sparked by the electricity that accompanies
days marked by nothing but what we see,
as if after all our sober intentions and hard work,
the days that carry us could be these.


Source: Naomi Shihab Nye. Red Suitcase: Poems. Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 1994


About Naomi Shihab Nye (from Red Suitcase):

Poet, teacher, essayist, anthologist, songwriter and singer, Naomi Shihab Nye is one of the country’s most acclaimed writers. Her voice is generous; her vision true; her subjects ordinary people, and ordinary situations which, when rendered through her language, become remarkable. In this, her fourth full collection of poetry, we see with new eyes-a grandmother’s scarf, an alarm clock, a man carrying his son on his shoulders.

Follow Naomi Shihab Nye on Instagram

Again to the Falls by Lynne Bronstein

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Mr. & Mrs. Harry Lewis At Table Rock Observation Platform, Horseshoe Falls In Background. Photographer unknown. Francis A. Petrie Collection. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

I visited Niagara Falls only once. I was sixteen
And with my family. The Customs Man
Came to know us after a few days.
But every time we crossed the bridge,
He asked us “Where were you born?”
Because he had to.
I spent much time on the Canadian side
Because it was exciting to be in another country.
I watched the trains that ran through the center of town.
Longest trains I’d ever seen, Canadian railroad.
I saw the bell tower where an unfaithful blonde
Was strangled by her husband in the movie Niagara.
But the Falls? The three waterfalls,
Demonstrating the full force of water at top speed—
All I did was look at them.
My parents had been under them.
It had once been the fashion
For honeymooners to travel
To the Falls. For the maximum
In daring romance, they’d don clumsy raincoats
And clunky boots
And ride the boat Maid of the Mist
As it passed beneath the muscular shower,
Getting each marriage off
To a drenching start.
As if to say: “We are not wed
Until we’ve been soaked
And cleansed
In the spray of the Falls.”

I wonder if this magic might work in reverse.
If I were to go to Niagara now
And stand beneath the Falls
And let the water change me,
Make me ready
To receive
Love that streams
Like non-stop water.
It is not a question of where I was born
But rather a question of where I will revive.
Under the rainbow arc of water
Where love and courage have been tested
And children are conceived.
No age is too late for a honeymoon.
To stand beneath the Falls
Is an item on my list.


Lynne Bronstein is a poet, a journalist, a fiction writer, a songwriter, and a playwright. She has been published in magazines ranging from Chiron Review, Spectrum, and Lummox, to Playgirl and the newsletter of the U.S. Census Bureau. Bronstein has published five books of poetry, including her latest, Nasty Girls from Four Feathers Publishing. Her first crime story was published in 2017 in the anthology LAst Resort. Her adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It was performed at two LA libraries. Her story “The Magic Candles” was performed on National Public Radio. She’s been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and four times for the Best of the Net awards.