Cataract of Niagara and Suspension Bridge by Roswell Rice

roswell rice
Roswell Rice
from the frontispiece of his Orations and Poems

….ALL day, as days are counted here below, 
I’ve ranged the banks of this myster’ous Chasm ; 
Whose raging voice has boomed, like thunder in 
Distant tones, ever since the morning stars 
Their song began. And as I gazed on the 
Huge transparent mass, plunging the foaming 
Gulf below, my heart was struck with fear, like 
Viewing specters in the magic glass, or 
Raging winds that swell the deep. And as I 
Sat me down for nature to revive, sad 
And fearful thoughts rushed on my soul, as I 
Gazed on this phenomenon of nature’s 
Birth .

……………The king of day was now descending 
The western horizon ; and ever since
The morning light had dispersed night’s dreary 
Mantle, my vision gazed on this direful
Cataract ; producing scenes terrific
And sublime. The crystal fountains of the 
Northern lakes, condensed in old Niag’ra,
With incessant sweep, near, and forever
Near the verge of this drear, and dreadful gulf ! 
And as they descend the vast abyss, the
Shock is heard in the distance as the voice
And proof of nature’s God. Were it not for 
Habit, proving no alarm, man would be 
More fearful of this terrific sound, than 
Of the lightning’s burst in a stormy sky. 
Such are the wonders of nature in this 
Mighty Cascade, that the spell yet remains 
Upon me; and their mementos enchant 
My spirit, and blend with my existence.

….God’s hand made these mighty waters, to plunge 
The deep ! to shake the earth afar ; and roll
On amid the gulf, plowed by nature’s stream 
In solid rock, through the flight of ages.
Six thousand years this trump of God perchance 
Has sounded in the savage ear ; and thus 
Made known the Spirit Land. Above the Falls 
The current is so strong, and suction so 
Severe, the fowl can hardly rise. The red 
Man, in his barque, applies the oar too late !
His hope is lost ! he to the Spirit cries !
And with a mortal groan descends the grave 
Of graves. The swiftwinged birds of heaven, in 
Sundry plumage decked, parched by sunbeams of 
The Summer’s rays, bathe in vapors rising 
From this foaming deep, and chant their songs to 
Greet its cooling spray. Pilgrims, far and near, 
Rush on to view this king of Cataracts ; 
And by nature’s incessant anthem, some 
Have learned the Author of the song.

…………………………………………………………The dread
Mastodon of the elder world, whose tread 
Made the forests shake, perchance in days of 
Yore has by these waters slaked his thirst. Fierce 
Armies in their pride have near this Chasm met, 
With martial din, where the dying groans and 
The sad echoes of the cannon’s roar were 
Heard in fearful blast. The storms and tempests 
Have swept around it ; and the lightning’s flash, 
And bolts of thunder, have shook the heavens 
Above ; yet these waters rush on with their 
Eternal song, from nature’s golden harp. 
This music still salutes the ravished ear, 
With strains that blend amid the raging storm.

….Near two miles below this Chasm is seen the 
Iron Bridge, the wonder of art, sustained 
By bolts and bars, posts and rails, gigantic 
Cables, and sundry fixtures ; fastened to 
The ironbound shores of two nations  pride, 
O’er which the lion and the eagle soar. 
On this suspended structure is seen the
Iron horse of rav’nous maw inspired with 
Wood and fire, passing and repassing with 
His gorgeous trains, journeying East and West 
On their rushing pinions ; bearing mankind 
And nature’s golden products, far and near. 
Four iron cables, made of wiry braid, 
ast in their size, and strong with curly strands, 
Extend from shore to shore, and terminate 
With fast’nings, secured in solid rock more 
Than twelve score feet above the river’s base. 
Eight hundred tons comprise the weight of this 
Gigantic Bridge ; twentyfour feet its width ;
Eight hundred feet its length ; and the strength of 
Its vast cables twelve thousand tons will bear. 
Hard by this structure , on each tow’ring bank 
Man’s frightful vision views the turbid stream 
Of raging waters, rolling and tumbling 
O’er their rocky base, to plunge the distant
Lake below. Immortal be the artist’s
Name that framed, and bound this gorgeous Bridge o’er
The dread Niag’ra, with light and knowledge 
Drawn from the funds of the great Supreme.

….Amazing magnificence is seen in
The dire waters of this mighty Cascade. 
But this is a mere point in the wonders 
Of nature. The forest green, waving in
The gale ; the birds with plumage decked, beaming 
In the sun ; earth’s millions of flow’rs kissed by 
The dews of heaven ; the swift winged clouds on which 
The beauties of earth and sky commingle ;
The Summer’s Sun glowing like the gate of 
Paradise ; the tow’ring mountain, on whose 
Summit remains eternal snow ; the vast 
Prairies lit up by sunbeams waving in 
The gale ; the flowing rivers, mountain born, 
That wend their way to kiss the briny deep ;
The islands of fire that rise in the main,
And straightway are seen no more ; the rushing 
Tornado, with giant pinions, sweeping
Before it the groves and hamlet ; and the
Oceans deep, which like clean hearts return heaven’s
Image ; or in their wild commotion swell
Like the heaving breasts of lions chained in 
Agony ; all combine in nature’s book,
To tell the matchless glory of a God.

….If in this nether world our Father speaks 
Terrible and sublime, how do the stars 
Above, floating the heavens like islands of 
Fire, proclaim his greatness ? How tells the vast 
Blazonry of the great Original,
Which adorns the supernal fields of space
With beauty, far surpassing the diamond 
Points of the mosaic texture ? If when
We look upon this Cataract, we are 
Called to admiration, how much more, when 
We gaze on the blue arch of heaven’s 
Magnificence, besieged by God’s flaming 
Seraphim, who keep their watch eternal.

….Ye sons of nature’s God, I pray draw near ; 
Behold the wonders of this direful scene ! 
Hark ! the earth trembles ! the thunder tones of 
This Chasm are heard afar ! showing to us 
That nature proves a God. Still, we have more 
Light ! it rises from the Gospel truth ; and 
Reveals our endless weal or woe. Then, let 
Adam’s fallen race from slumber rise !—make
Sure the living boon ! so when the works of 
Time shall die, God’s holy Son will bear them 
To his throne ! where they shall chant redeeming 
Love, and share ambrosial strains of Heaven. 
There scourging woes shall ever pass away ! 
And praise eternal shall to God be given. 
These scenes of time should warn us of that hour, 
When rocks shall rend, and oceans be no more.

….Ye bloodbought and Hellbound Infidels ! by
This Cataract God is speaking to you. 
These thunder tones, and all the sad dirges
Of nature, call for your belief in God !
But something more warns your souls to action !
It is the stable  the manger, and the
Crucifixion !    More, it is the Son of
God in Joseph’s tomb ! his ascension to 
Heaven, after giving up the Ghost on 
The cross, and his cries for your Salvation 
At the right hand of God. Why then reject 
The Savior, and make sure the wails of the 
Lost ? where no mercy shall ever greet the 
Ear ! and no Jesus set free the pris’ner. 
Awake from your slumber ! run for life ! and 
The bonus of the Crucifixion share.

Source: Roswell Rice. Rice’s Orations and Poems: Containing Orations of Temperance, War, Christ’s Second Advent, etc.; Descant on Time and Immortality, Time’s Destroying Flight, etc., in Blank Verse; Many Lyrics and Acrostics; and numberous Poetic Gems. Springfield, Mass: Press of Springfield Printing Company, 1883

burgoyne bridge by atlantic


we were not meant
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡to take Flight
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡in such a manner

a brief act
‡‡‡‡‡‡of desperation
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡will cause lasting wounds
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡that can never heal


‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡stay grounded

Source: the author, 2019

Burgoyne Bridge was infamous as a place to commit suicide, as it crossed high over the Twelve Mile Creek. Suicide barriers were installed when the Burgoyne Bridge was replaced in 2016.

atlantic was born and raised in Niagara Falls, where he still resides. A selection of his work is available on Instagram

Also by atlantic:
•    Baby Steps IV
•    carnival tunes
•    Robert Frost
•    water child

On the American Side by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews

American, United Nations, and Canadian Flags on the Rainbow Bridge (Marking the International Border) with Niagara Falls in the Background. Photo by George Bailey. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

On the other side of the Falls
There is a country expanding.
Highways and cities growing south.
Outlet malls with good deals. Postcards
That burrow scenic streetscapes in memory’s summers.
Cities where catalpa trees blossom and tourists
In June, with their phone cameras capture yet another pic
With the Niagara River crashing into rocks and mist.
With their wild pink rose and orange blossom shirts
They speed star spangled in the wind on freeways
Red white and blue confederate flags waving back
A solemn salute to history, to our red and white maple leaf
Emblem too, while on the other side she remains, America!
Her name still burning
With the idealisms of democracy
Solid underpinning to some newly built wall
Red flag of something terribly gone wrong,
Hopefully soon, blowing away like smoke in the air.
When I saw her yesterday she was still there, Lady Liberty
Holding out a torch to the Atlantic.
Instead today we lower our heads to watch the sightseers
Wearing yellow raincoats in the rapids of Lady of the Mist.
What can we do there that we couldn’t do on this side of the map?
On the border bridge we stand, unaware of political entanglements.
We want to keep her flame burning.
We are poets looking at her
Like a lover looking at her.
She is the land before the cartographers
Dissected her with historical demarcations
From Canada to Mexico.
We take photos of the beauty
Of America, north and south.
We salute her.
The freedom in her.
Lady luck in New York Harbour
Beyond regressive fascisms.
With a torch of freedom forever burning.
Burning in our memories, etched in our century.

Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews is a poet and the host & coordinator of the Oakville Literary Cafe Series. Her new collection, Sunrise Over Lake Ontario, was published in 2019. Her previous poetry publications include: Sea Glass, The Whispers of Stones, The Red Accordion, Letters from the Singularity and A Jar of Fireflies. Josie’s poetry has been shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s Open Season Award, Descant’s Winston Collins Prize and The Canada Literary Review ’s Summer Poetry Competition, The Eden Mills Festival Literary Contest and the Henry Drummond Poetry Prize. Di Sciascio-Andrews’ poetry has won first place in Arborealis Anthology Contest and in Big Pond Rumours Literary E-Zine.

Visit Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews’ web page

Anchored to the Infinite by Edwin Markham

Kite Flying Contest Held To Get The First Line Across The Gorge For The Suspension Bridge.
by Donna Marie Campbell. Image courtesy of the Niagara Falls Public Library

The builder who first bridged Niagara’s gorge,
Before he swung his cable, shore to shore,
Sent out across the gulf his venturing kite
Bearing a slender cord for unseen hands
To grasp upon the further cliff and draw
A greater cord, and then a greater yet;
Till at the last across the chasm swung
The cable — then the mighty bridge in air!

So we may send our little timid thought
Across the void, out to God’s reaching hands —
Send out our love and faith to thread the deep—
Thought after thought until the little cord
Has greatened to a chain no chance can break,
And we are anchored to the Infinite!

Source:  Markham, Edwin, The Shoes of Happiness, and Other Poems; the Third Book of Verse. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Page & Co., 1915.

The Niagara Suspension Bridge was the first bridge to span the Niagara River, and was in service from 1848-1855. To get the initial cable across, a kite flying contest, pictured above, was held. Contestants used the prevailing westerly winds to fly the kites from the Canadian to the American site. 13 year old Homan Walsh won the contest. Progressively larger strings and cables were tied to the kite string and pulled across until cables could be anchored to either side and bridge construction could begin.

On the Bridge at Chippawa by David Hobberlin


Diving off the Weightman Bridge in Chippawa, 1970s. Photo courtesy of the Niagara Falls Public Library

I love to experience the wind at Chippawa
whenever the Westerly blows strong.
How it presses back the eager boughs.
How it scuffs the tops of the water crests
that so mark the dark river’s frown.
How it seeks to scour this single bridge
that spans the narrows still.
How it empties itself where the Niagara begins.
How it sweeps and then swoops and then curls…
How it harbors all my longing
when it enters the cataract’s pull.
How it soars above the majestic gorge.
How it disperses the spray of a rainbow arc
before flying headlong toward the whirlpool of fate;
there to add to the mix of the new with the old
in a breach as endless as time can permit.
How it encourages joy from where ever it dwells
to flavor one’s hope, one’s heart, and one’s dream.
How it cleanses my spirit.
How it clings to my will.

May, 2020
Source: David Hobberlin
I am a Canadian poet currently living in Chippawa. Over the years my poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and periodicals beginning with the anthology ‘Canadian Poets of 1969’.

The poem ‘On the Waterfront of Toronto’ earned the Monica Ladell Award 2012 for best poem presented by the Scarborough Arts Society.

I have participated in various poetry readings and venues held in Toronto, Scarborough, Welland, St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls.

Grey Borders Books published three chapbooks of my poetry – Inanna  (A Tale of Sumer),  Reflections on the Republic, and Going to Work on a Snowy Morning. Click to visit the David Hobberlin page on the Grey Borders Books website
The Indian Heritage Council of Morristown, Tennessee, published a limited edition chapbook ‘The Pipe Maker and Other Poems’ in the millennial year 2000..