Niagara November 1978 by Daniel Brown

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

After Thanksgiving dinner in North Tonawanda
We drove to Niagara through chilly evening fog,
parked and walked carefully toward the falls.
The sidewalks and grounds were frosted lace,
along the path branches of flash frozen trees 
had spent blossoms suspended like icicle earrings.
Although we remembered 4th grade science
and the hydraulic water cycle
we forgot to realize that when they melt
the radiant ice diamonds 
will mingle with human breath
mist their way to heaven
before returning to earth 
in never ending rotation
to churn and crash over the falls
as they had for Frederic Edwin Church in 1857
when his breath and artistic vision 
captured and contributed to the movement 
of the eternal roar.

daniel brown
Daniel Brown

First published in The Ekphrastic Review, October 20, 2023 in their Ekphrastic Challenges series.

Daniel Brown has recently published at age 72 his first collection Family Portraits in Verse and Other Illustrated Poems through Epigraph Books, Rhinebeck, NY. He has most recently been published in Jerry Jazz Musician and Chronogram Magazine and was included in Arts Mid-Hudson 2023 gallery presentation Poets Respond To Art in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Niagara by Father James B. Dollard

Niagara by Frederic Edwin Church
Incessantly thy waters thus have rolled
    Through the dim aeons of unmeasured Time,
    While God was fashioning His work sublime,
Or ere His sulphurous forges could grow cold!
When Egypt loved Osiris and retold
    His charmed birth from out Nilotic slime,
    When Chaldea read the stars, and Homer's rhyme
Was yet undreamt -- Niagara thundered bold.

So night and day throughout coverging years
    Hoarse voices rose above the hissing spray
        Scaring the lonely Indian on the shore!
These bellowing chasms harbored nameless fears --
    Demons and dragons in contorted play
        Lashing the frightened waters evermore!

Source: Rev. James B. Dollard. Poems. Toronto: The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada, 1910.

About Father Dollard