Brock by Charles Sangster

charles sangster
Brock’s Monument, Queenston Heights
from John Charles Dent’s The Last Forty Years: Canada Since the Union of 1841


October
 13th, 1859 *

One voice, one people, one in heart
……..And soul, and feeling, and desire !
……..Re-light the smouldering martial fire, 
……..Sound the mute trumpet, strike the lyre, 
……..The hero deed can not expire,
……………The dead still play their part.

Raise high the monumental stone !
……..A nation’s fealty is theirs,
……..And we are the rejoicing heirs,
……..The honored sons of sires whose cares 
……..We take upon us unawares,
……………As freely as our own.

We boast not of the victory,
……..But render homage, deep and just,
……..To his  to their  immortal dust,
……..Who proved so worthy of their trust 
……..No lofty pile nor sculptured bust
……………Can herald their degree.

No tongue need blazon forth their fame  
……..The cheers that stir the sacred hill
……..Are but mere promptings of the will
……..That conquered then, that conquers still ; 
……..And generations yet shall thrill
……………At Brock’s remembered name.

Some souls are the Hesperides
……..Heaven sends to guard the golden age,
……..Illuming the historic page
……..With records of their pilgrimage ;
……..True Martyr, Hero, Poet, Sage :
……………And he was one of these.

Each in his lofty sphere sublime
……..Sits crowned above the common throng,
……..Wrestling with some Pythonic wrong,
……..In prayer, in thunder, thought, or song ;
……..Briareus-limbed, they sweep along,
……………The Typhons of the time.

* The day of the inauguration of the new Monument on Queenston Heights.


Source: Charles Sangster. Hesperus, and Other Poems and Lyrics. Montreal: John Lovell, 1860.

Read about Charles Sangster

D.M.R. Bentley discusses this poem by Sangster in his essay (now archived on the WayBack Machine) Monumental Tensions: the Commemoration of British Political and Military Heroes in Canada from his Mnemographia Canadensis, volume 1: Muse and Recall

 

 

From Queenston Heights by Charles Sangster

sangster
Crowd at the Base of Brock’s Monument,
ca. 1914
Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library


….
Eleven.    Welcome to the Sabbath bells ! 
A blessing and a welcome !    At this hour
One prays for me at home, two hundred miles
From where I lounge along the grassy knoll,
Far up upon this classic hill.    The air
Hath a delicious feeling, as it breathes
Its autumn breath upon me ; air so calm,
One cannot feel the beat of Nature’s pulse.
No, not a throb.    The heav’nly influences,
Hearing that maiden’s prayer, lean down and move
My being with their answerings of love.
The myriad-tinted leaves have gravely paused
To listen to the spheral whisperings —
The unvoiced harmonies that few can hear
Or feel, much less interpret faithfully ;
And the swift waters of the dizzy gorge,
Stunned with their recent plunge against the crags
That hide Niagara’s iris-circled feet,
And lashed to very madness as they wound
Their circling way past rocks and fretted banks,
Melt into calm in the blue lake beyond,
As starlight melts into the distant sea.

….Those ancient willows have a solemn droop ;
You scarce can see the dwelling they adorn :
Behind them rest the grain-denuded fields.
Here, to my left, an unpretending town ;
There, to my right, another ; like two friends,
Each thanking heaven for the Sabbath-pause,
And the brief respite from man’s curse of toil.
The church bells pealing now and then a note,
Swell the bless’d Pæan with their silver tongues.
The very tombstones yonder, near the church,
Look whiter for the eloquent Repose.
 
….A few short paces through the cedar trees,
Where the pert chipmunks chatter, and the birds
Select and melodize their sweetest notes,
And I have gained the level.    Toward the lake,
The cloudlike points of land are seen
Blending with old Ontario, and the gorge
Hurries its whirling current past the banks 
That glass their fair proportions in the stream.
 
….Here is the Monument.    Immortal Brock,
Whose ashes lie beneath it, not more still
Than is the plain to-day. What have we gained,
But a mere breath of fame, for all the blood
That flowed profusely on this stirring field ?
‘T is true, a Victory ; through which we still
Fling forth the meteor banner to the breeze,
And have a blood-sealed claim upon the soil.
‘T were better than Defeat, a thousand times.
And we have rightly learned to bless the name
Of the Old Land, whose courage won the day —
We, the descendants of her Victor-sires.
But dearer than a hundred victories,
With their swift agony, the earnest Calm,
That, like a Blessing from the lips of God,
Rests on the classic plain, o’er which my feet
Tread lightly, in remembrance of the dead—
My Brothers all, Vanquished and Victors both.
And yet my heart leaps up, poor human heart !
As I lean proudly, with a human pride,
Against this pillar to a great man’s name.
Yet I would rather earn that maiden’s prayer,
Than all the fame of the immortal dead.
 
….There may be furrows still upon the field,
Ploughed up with the wild hurricane of war
On that eventful day.    Here, certainly,
An angry missile grooved this honored rock.
Though nearly half a century has pass’d,
The fissure still is here, and here the rust
Left by the iron messenger of death,
As it sped forward like an angry fate,
Sending, perhaps, ten human souls to hell.
 
….There, there was pain. Here, where the wondrous skill
Of the mechanic, with this iron web
Has spanned the chasm, the pulse beats hopefully,
And thoughts of peace sit dove-like in the mind.
Heav’n bridge these people’s hearts, and make them one !


Source: Charles Sangster. The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay and Other Poems. Kingston, Ont.: J. Creighton & J. Duff, 1856

Read about Charles Sangster

D.M.R. Bentley discusses this poem by Sangster in his essay (now archived on the WayBack Machine) Monumental Tensions: the Commemoration of British Political and Military Heroes in Canada from his Mnemographia Canadensis, volume 1: Muse and Recall

sangster

Niagara Powerhouse by Joseph Housley

 


Source: Niagara Powerhouse by Joseph Housley was first published in Nashville Review, Issue 39, December 2022.

Joseph Housley’s poems have appeared in The New York Quarterly, Nashville Review, The Shore, and Sixth Finch, as well as other journals and anthologies. He was selected for a residency at Hewnoaks and received an MFA in poetry from The New School. He lives in Savannah, Georgia.

Follow Joseph Housley on Twitter

Photo: Sun Shining Through the Mist at the Brink of the Horseshoe Falls, January 7, 2007 by Andrew Porteus

 

Judy’s Hootenanny by Bob Chambers

chambers
chambers

                           

Come all you young people

     and listen to me,

Never smoke cigarettes or   

     a corpse you will be,

For once it was smart, but  

     now it’s forlorn,

And smoking will kill you

     as sure as you’re born!

          


The cartoon was drawn by Bob Chambers, who worked for the Halifax Chronicle Herald. It is presumed the ditty was written by him also.

Read about Bob Chambers.

Judy LaMarsh Niagara Falls resident, who became the federal Minister of Health from 1963-1965.

Read about Judy LaMarsh.

Convenient Corner by Cole McInerney

convenient
Circle K on Thorold Stone Road, Niagara Falls, Ontario Image by Circle K

 

 

The consistent
consumer light
from the Circle K
that summer.

A mirage among
the sleeping suburb.

Zombie-like
worker.

Refrigerator
hummer.

The back wall
title text
cheap soda
happiness guarantee,
like broadcasting
palm trees
on a green screen.

Back out to
the parking lot
below the
practically perfect
Circle Moon


Source: The author, 2023

Convenient Corner was first published in Echolocation, vol. 20, March 2023. Convenient Corner was inspired by the Circle K  on Thorold Stone Road, Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Cole McInerney is a poet from Niagara Falls, Ontario. He studied English at Toronto Metropolitan University. Currently, he is a MFA student at the University of South Carolina, studying poetry. His poems have been published in several print and online publications, including Feral Poetry, White Wall Review, The Bookends Review, and Echolocation Magazine.

Follow Cole McInerney on Instagram

Follow Cole McInerney on Linktr.ee

See all of Cole McInerney’s poems on the Niagara Falls Poetry Project website:

•     The Buildings of the Dream
•     Convenient Corner
•     Lake Erie
•     Russell Street