Ode to Lake Ontario by John Imrie

The Outlet of the Niagara River with Lake Ontario in the Distance
 Painted by H. Adlard, print by W.H. Bartlett
Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

THOU inland sister-sea, Ontario !
‡‡To glide upon thy bosom is sublime ;
There note thy peaceful, steady, onward flow.
‡‡Ceaseless and constant as the course of time !

Thy waters seem the same, — yet ever new —
‡‡Fed by a thousand streams on either side ;
The same clear sky, the same thy depths of blue,
‡‡Free as the nations bord’ring on thy tide !
Vast upper-lakes feed thee with lib’ral hand,
‡‡From higher lands as new as thine hath been ;
Where still the Indian and his wigwam stand.
‡‡He half amaz’d with what his eyes hath seen !

To thy embrace — like gallant lover bold —
‡‡Niagara rushes in his mad career.
Till tir’d and spent, past whirling eddies cold,
‡‡He calmly sinks to rest when thou art near !

Last of the inland seas ! — yet nearest home —
‡‡Thy waters soon shall swell the mighty deep,
And mingle with the ocean’s briny foam,
‡‡There shalt thou rest — and there for ever sleep !

Source:  John Imrie. Sacred Songs, Sonnets, and Miscellaneous Poems. Toronto: Imrie & Graham, 1886

Read about John Imrie

water child by atlantic


‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡is Huron
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡it means
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡“beautiful lake” (and it is)

I was born
‡‡between Lakes Erie and Ontario (onitariio)
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡by water

born in the winter,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡I am child
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡of ice

but I find solace
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡and warmth
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡standing on their shores

I think that the water
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡makes a certain music
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡that calls out to me
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡and all who live here

Source: The author, 2019

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

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