Of Sometime True Lovers by Doug Smith

sometime
Horseshoe Falls in Winter. Photo by Heather Rodman
Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

In the yellow and blue dawn of winter
I will come for her
My misty apparition
who fogs my eyes and senses
and comforts me with her chilled
wet kiss

She knows my secret sins
She’s lived my life
“Come in,” says Niagara
“The water’s fine”
I know it’s not true, it’s freezing in December

Look up from the Horseshoe Falls
see the Rainbow Bridge, Goat Island, the gaudy signage
Home…

Look down upon the frigid rapids
My misty apparition
who fogs my eyes and senses
and I wonder how it will be
to know the caress 
of my sometime true lover
as I lapse gently inside her
and ponder my new address

Slipping into her grasp
suicide and marriage are one
no cold, no fear
just nostalgia


 

Source: The author, 2022. Of Sometime True Lovers was first published on All Poetry6/9/21, Written 10/31/98

Author’s note: While this appears to be about suicide in Niagara Falls, it’s really about what I owe to the city itself, the city that I grew up in and made me.

See Doug Smith ’s All Poetry site (Darknightofthesoul)

Doug Smith is a former Niagara Falls, NY resident

 

Another December Snow Day in Niagara Falls by Doug Smith

december
Children on Bridge St., Niagara Falls, looking East, circa 1900
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Lost in snowflakes

      children march 
            in jubilation
                warmed 
                      by ‘Let it Snow’ 
                          philosophies
                             and homemade 
                                 scarves and mittens.
                                     Another December snow day 

                                                    in Niagara Falls.  

Source: The Author, August 2022

 

See Doug Smith ’s All Poetry site (Darknightofthesoul)

See Another December Day in Niagara Falls on All Poetry, written 12/13/21

Doug Smith is a former Niagara Falls, NY resident

Chimes of De Veaux by Ada Elizabeth Fuller

deveaux
Ambrose Chapel at De Veaux College, where the bells were housed
Photo courtesy Big Daddy Dave blog

 

Fling out your silver peals,
‡‡Over the river’s breast.
Speak to the waters, peace,
‡‡Bid the wild Rapids rest.
Peal sweetly, high and low,
‡‡Chimes of De Veaux.

Chime to the flaming woods,
‡‡Gay in the morning sun.
Chime to the solemn pines
‡‡After the day is done.
Peal sweetly, high and low,
‡‡Chimes of De Veaux.

Ring out your silver strains,
‡‡Over Niagara’s breast.
Bid the wild waters roll,
‡‡On to their ocean-rest.
Peal sweetly, high and low,
‡‡Chimes of De Veaux.


Source:  Ada Elizabeth Fuller.  Sunshine and Shadow: Poems by Ada Elizabeth Fuller.  Niagara Falls, Ont. Ada Elizabeth Fuller, 1919


The site of DeVeaux College is now owned by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and is now the DeVeaux Woods State Park. According to the TowerBells.org DeVeaux School had a 10-bell chime installed by Meneely/Troy in 1913, which was sold to Verdin in November 1994.  The remaining structure on the site have also been demolished.


From The Living Church, vol. 50, January 3, 1914

New Chimes at De Veaux College

On New Year’s Eve, at midnight, the new chimes at De Veaux College, Niagara Falls, N.Y. (the Rev. William Stanley Barrows, headmaster), were rung for the first time. The bells, ten in number, were made by the Meneely Company of Troy, and are known as their F Tenor chime. They are a duplicate of those recently given to Christ Church, Greenwich, Conn, and are the gift of Mr. Albert H. Lewis of Bridgeport, Conn., who attended De Veaux College from 1857 to 1862. The inscription on the great bell reads: “Fortiter, Fideliter, Feliciter.  In honor of Samuel De Veaux and as a memorial to those trustees, masters, boys, and patrons who have faithfully served and fostered De Veaux College, this chime is presented by Albert Henry Lewis, ’57-’62, Founder’s Day, A. D. 1913, the fifty-sixth anniversary of the opening of De Veaux College. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men.” The inscription of the other bells is: “Fortiter, Fideliter, Feliciter. De Veaux College, ex dono Albert Henry Lewis, Founder’s Day, A. D. 1913.”


View the song Thy Bells Deveaux by Thomas Vincent Welch and J. Ernest Rieger

Read more about the DeVeaux College Chimes

Visit the Big Daddy Dave blog post about DeVeaux School

The Gorge of Niagara by Ada Elizabeth Fuller

fuller
Gorge of the Niagara River
from Niagara Falls: America’s Scenic Wonders
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Within the mighty Gorge I stand alone,
‡‡But little more than those small grains of sand
Which lie unnumbered, where the wave-worn shore
‡‡Stretched out to grasp them in its open hand.
But high above the river’s mighty voice,
‡‡A crystal throat brings in its note of charm—
The steady drip of water on a ledge
‡‡Of rocks, upheaved as by some mighty arm.

O’erhead the trees, with pray’rful murmurings,
‡‡Breathe soft to all the winds that flutter by—
The breezes that but came a moment hence
‡‡And went their airy journey with a sigh.
The river winds its fretful way along,
‡‡But deep within its plaintings, great and small,
I hear the mighty Maker’s mighty voice
‡‡In thousand thund’rous accents rise and fall.


Source:  Ada Elizabeth Fuller.  Sunshine and Shadow: Poems by Ada Elizabeth Fuller.  Niagara Falls, Ont. Ada Elizabeth Fuller, 1919

A Pic-Nic at the Falls by Melvin Byron Misener

The Crowland Safe Guard Union and Port Robinson Presbyterian Sabbath Schools held a union picnic at the Falls on Aug. 15, and the occasion has been immortalized by the Crowland poet, as followeth : —

misener
Wheelbarrow Race During Picnic in Queen Victoria Park, July 1927.
Photo by Edwin Hodge
Courtesy of the Niagara Parks Commission / Niagara Falls Public Library

Did you ever Pic-nic at the Falls
‡‡Upon a summer’s day ?
If not, I tell you, ’tis the place
‡‡To pass the time away.

Now first of all you name the day,
‡‡But then, if it should rain,
You fix upon another date,
‡‡And then perhaps again.

And next you must a chicken catch,
‡‡Be sure to take off its head,
Then fill it well with dressing
‡‡And roast it when it’s dead.

You fix a lot of other things
‡‡To fill the basket up ;
‘Tis well to take some dishes too,
‡‡A plate and spoon and cup.

The time comes round — you’re on the road,
‡‡Your best friend at your side,
And if you chose a pleasant day
‡‡You will enjoy the ride.

You can go by the Clifton hill,
‡‡Or down the old ravine,
No difference how you get there
‡‡Upon the park and green.

You meet your many neighbours there
‡‡Their friendship to renew,
Along perhaps with relatives
‡‡And strangers quite a few.

You’ll meet there Col. Gzowski
‡‡And he’ll not speak to you,
But gaze in blissful ignorance
‡‡Upon the sights to view.

And noon comes round, the tables spread
‡‡With pies and cakes and such
And some one at your elbow says,
‡‡“Take care, don’t eat too much.”

Now some drink water pure and bright,
‡‡But grannies have their tea,
For you can get hot water
‡‡Right at the park Q. V.

We sit along the bank awhile
‡‡And watch the Misty Maid ;
Some people will not ride on her
‡‡Because they are afraid.

The day is spent, we start for home ;
‡‡On two things we agree.
That we have had a pleasant time,
‡‡We’re tired as we can be.


Many thanks to Arden Phair for referring this poem to the Niagara Falls Poetry Project curator.

Source: Undated newspaper clipping (probably the Welland Tribune) found in The Diaries of Melvin Byron Misener, held at the Mayholme Foundation in St. Catharines.  The clipping has the date “1900” handwritten in the margin of the previous page. Misener (1847-1936) was known as “The Crowland Poet.”  Read more about Misener