Niagara Falls Postcard by Jennifer Rose

The American Niagara Falls
Undated postcard. The Bridal Veil Fall is to the right. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Greetings from the capital of love,
whose cataracts a punster might foretell.
Next time we come we’ll plan for a motel:
one afternoon is simply not enough.

Where other tourists see the Bridal Veil,
I watch the ghosts of buffalos herded off
a thousand cliffs by hunters. Gulls circle as if
they were white buzzards. They wait to no avail.

Sorry to be cynical, I buy
some souvenirs — small TV sets with slides of all
the sights in living color. The primal
screams are missing. The hunters had their alibi

but what is mine? Can I love a girl
afraid of every honeymoon’s cheap thrills,
like holding hands in public or acting like a fool?
Yours, of course, until Niagara Falls.

Source: Jennifer Rose. Hometime for an Hour: Poems. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006

Read about Jennifer Rose

Read the article Poet Imparts a Sense of Place 

Canadiana 2000 by Kevin McCabe


The Castle Souvenir Shop in Chippawa. Photo courtesy of the Wilfred Hicks Collection, Niagara Falls Public Library

The plastic Mounties come in five sizes
With prices adjusted to every pocketbook.
They are drawn up in ranks of prancing horsemen,
Proudly displaying their little Canadian flags,
And marshalled under a sign which reads “Canadiana”.
The Mounties are ready to march:
To take their places on ashtrays, mugs, key-chains, T-shirts, and underwear;
To serve their country at souvenir stands, gift shops, motel lobbies, bus terminals, information
booths, and gambling casinos;
To form a guard of honour for Wayne Thompson, Mike Harris, Jean Chretien, Marilyn Monroe,
Angela Mosca, and Arnie Swartzennegger;
To go forth from here all over the world as little symbols of Canada.
And, standing in front of the display, in the fever of the moment,
I am rapt in an epiphany:
It seems to me that I am witnessing
The birth of a nation.

Source: Kevin McCabe. Canadian Topics: Poems About Canada, 1967-2017. St. Catharines: Blarney Stone Books, 2017

N.B. This poem was inspired by a souvenir market on River Road (not the Castle Souvenir Shop) – personal note from the author.