Untitled by Anonymous

The title page of the Table Rock Album

“On to the curtained shrine — ay, pass within
Into that trembling temple of the world;
And there stoop ‘mid the storm.   ‘T will visit you
In robes of darkness that will seem like night
Fallen on mid-day.    ‘T will come on you in song
Gigantic, but melodious — chorussed still,
Like a mad ocean heaved on iron shores
By tempests that stir earth’s foundation. — Go stand
Up amid the roar — ‘T will visit you if yet
A ray gleam through the twilight of your soul.”


Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848

This link takes you to the scanned version of  the 1855 version of Table Rock Album from the Hathi Trust

See the Table of Contents of the Table Rock Album on this site.

The Falls of Niagara by J. Newton Brown

Niagara Falls. To Thomas Dixon esq. this view of the American Fall taken from Goat Island. 1829. painted & engraved by W.J. Bennett ; printed by J. Neale. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

addressed to a friend

Years may roll on, but never shall their race
‡‡ Bring to my eye another sight like this ;
Nor shall the rushing flood of Time efface
‡‡ The sentiments profound of awe and bliss ; —
‡‡ No ! never can my mind hereafter miss
The images so strongly there engraved ;
‡‡ That overwhelming Fall — that dread abyss
From which the living torrents rose and raved : —
Whatever it may lose, this scene, at least, is saved.

And I have seen thee, wonder of the world !
‡‡ Unequalled cataract ! my country’s pride !
With all thy weight of waters downward hurled,
‡‡ As if in earth’s deep bowels thou wouldst hide
‡‡ Superior, Huron, Erie’s blended tide !
And I that foaming tide emerge have seen,
‡‡ As winding down the precipice’s side,
Dipt by thy spray in everlasting green.
At thy dread foot I stood, and viewed the wondrous scene.

And shall I now attempt to body forth
‡‡ Its mighty features in descriptive song ?
Bold effort ! and perhaps of little worth ; —
‡‡ Yet, it would seem, some tribute doth belong
‡‡ To Nature’s master-work, from mortal tongue ;
And thou, my friend, the effort dost demand :
‡‡ Rouse then thy spirit to conception strong,
And come with me, in fancy take thy stand
Amidst the TERRIBLE, the BEAUTIFUL, the GRAND !

The sweep majestic of the river’s brow,
‡‡ Which, far above, extends from shore to shore ;
The island, like a foam-encircled prow ;
‡‡ Heaven’s bright blue arch rising behind and o’er ;
‡‡ The lake-born torrents, as with ceaseless roar,
Over the everlasting rocks they roll,
‡‡ Impatient, to the dizzy leap before ;
All rush at once upon the startled soul,
At the first rapid glance your eye throws o’er the whole.

But sight is mingled at the heart with sound —
‡‡ The loud, the deafening thunder of the Fall ;
Which seems at first sensation to confound,
‡‡ The brain to madden, and the breast appal,
‡‡ And spread annihilation over all ! —
The dazzling whiteness of the sheeted foam.
‡‡ Which to the eye appears a snow-built wall.
On which is reared a bright cerulean dome,
That poets well might take for Fancy’s airy home !

The clouds of rising and dissolving spray.
‡‡ Which wave and wanton in the gusty wind ;
On which the sunbeams hold their magic play,
‡‡ Painting gay rainbows of each glorious kind.
‡‡ That change their shape and color, like the mind
Of soft and ductile youth with every scene ;
‡‡ Now swelling upward free and unconfined,
In matchless beauty and resplendent sheen ;
Now bursting — leaving but the black abyss between !

The dark and dripping cliffs, which overhead
‡‡ Rise like the war-built towers of ancient time,
Breathing defiance, and inspiring dread ;
‡‡ Which echo back, with emphasis sublime,
‡‡ The cataract’s awful sounds, in measured chime,
Rolling along the deep and distant pass,
‡‡ Until at length the blood-stained heights they climb,
Where swelled the roar of battle — where, alas !
Our country’s sons and foes fell in one mingled mass.

Then, the still darker torrent at your feet,
‡‡ Whose green-wreathed floods boil up from the abyss ;
To whose unfathomed depths, in one broad sheet,
‡‡ They thundering fell — whose tides with horrid hiss,
‡‡ Like venomous serpents vast, do seem, I wis,
Writhing in pain, and madly rushing by
‡‡ Toward far Ontario’s bed,— all, all of this,
Must have struck on the heart, the ear, the eye,
To give the awful sense of its sublimity.

O, there I thought — and thought did well beseem
‡‡ A scene so full of fearful majesty —
If with such wonders his creation teem,
‡‡ What must the glory of their Author be !
‡‡ With what deep reverence and humility.
Ought we to bow before his mighty hand ! —
‡‡ Lord of creation and eternity !
Shall human pride not quail at thy command ? —
The thunder of thy power, O, who can understand !

Buffalo, July 6, 1823.

Source: J. Newton Brown. Emily, and Other Poems. Concord, N.H., I. S. Boyd, 1840.

See John Newton Brown’s entry in Wikipedia

Across the Gulf by Lily Alice Lefevre

Cave of the Winds & Bridal Veil Falls, Niagara Falls. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

WHERE the great cataract, Niagara, fills
The air with mist, the earth with shuddering sound,
A winding path leads to the utmost verge
And down the steep a narrow stair is flung,
Confronting in its fragile nothingness
The world of hurling waters. There, alone,
A blind girl stands. As on the dizzy brink
Of Alpine heights, a snowdrop half afraid
Hangs trembling petals o’er the dark abyss
White-robed she bends above the roaring gulf
And clasps with timid hands the slender rail
That guards the deep descent. A pale, sweet face
Upraised to wonders that she cannot see,
And tremulous with passionate despair,
Half-parted lips that in their tender curves
Droop mournfully, and heavy lashes wet
With sad and hopeless tears.


Before her sweeps
The crystal glory rounding from the rock
And melting into mists of pearl and rose.
A thousand changing tints of opal light,
Bright magic blossoms of the sunlit wave,
Flash upward in their flights of fairy bloom
Like garlands tossed in triumph to the sky.
Higher and higher in showers of starry spray
Till one wild leap flings to the farthest crag
Its vivid splendour, and across the foam
There glows a rainbow arch of victory!


But not for her the beauty or the power,
She hears the sound of mighty harmonies
And vainly pictures the Unseen. And yet
Not hers, not hers the pain that wrings the heart
Of one who gazes on her sightless eyes,
And knows not why the kind, the cruel world
Holds Blindness and Niagara!


So stands
The soul who comes at last to that dim verge
Where Reason falters and where Science fails,
These were his chosen guides who led him far
Down shadowy vistas of the shrouded past
Through myriad forms of faint, primeval life
Back to the great First Cause,—a step, and then
He hears the waters of Eternity
Sounding mysterious music through the night,
He trembles on the verge of the Unknown,—
The Darkness closes round him—he is blind!


Oh, Light of faith! touch thou his closèd eyes,
And lo! the vision of a rainbow flung
Across the viewless depths of Time and Space,—
A sacramental splendour set aloft
In sevenfold glory, mystical, divine,
To span the gulf that lies ‘twixt God and Man!

Source: Lily Alice Lefevre. A Garden by the Sea and Other Poems. London: Arthur L. Humphreys, 1921.


On the Bridge at Chippawa by David Hobberlin


Diving off the Weightman Bridge in Chippawa, 1970s. Photo courtesy of the Niagara Falls Public Library

I love to experience the wind at Chippawa
whenever the Westerly blows strong.
How it presses back the eager boughs.
How it scuffs the tops of the water crests
that so mark the dark river’s frown.
How it seeks to scour this single bridge
that spans the narrows still.
How it empties itself where the Niagara begins.
How it sweeps and then swoops and then curls…
How it harbors all my longing
when it enters the cataract’s pull.
How it soars above the majestic gorge.
How it disperses the spray of a rainbow arc
before flying headlong toward the whirlpool of fate;
there to add to the mix of the new with the old
in a breach as endless as time can permit.
How it encourages joy from where ever it dwells
to flavor one’s hope, one’s heart, and one’s dream.
How it cleanses my spirit.
How it clings to my will.

May, 2020
Source: David Hobberlin
I am a Canadian poet currently living in Chippawa. Over the years my poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and periodicals beginning with the anthology ‘Canadian Poets of 1969’.

The poem ‘On the Waterfront of Toronto’ earned the Monica Ladell Award 2012 for best poem presented by the Scarborough Arts Society.

I have participated in various poetry readings and venues held in Toronto, Scarborough, Welland, St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls.

Grey Borders Books published three chapbooks of my poetry – Inanna  (A Tale of Sumer),  Reflections on the Republic, and Going to Work on a Snowy Morning. Click to visit the David Hobberlin page on the Grey Borders Books website
The Indian Heritage Council of Morristown, Tennessee, published a limited edition chapbook ‘The Pipe Maker and Other Poems’ in the millennial year 2000..

So She Flows by April Jones

The Spirit of Niagara from the Pan American Exposition, 1901

As we all stand in awe of her beauty, her power and her blessings,

Her hair cascades ever downward draping over her shoulders just as it should so fluently over every obstacle in its path,

And her breath emanating from her soft lips in the brisk air rises so high above, disappearing into the clouds,

Her sloping breasts just visible beneath her loose blouse,

Upon her face a sense of peace, but in her eyes a rampant ferocity as the light flirts and dances with every perfect angle.

How does such beauty, serenity and chaos exist simultaneously?

She remains nameless to those who know better that this is a just a part of a bigger whole that requires no label, just appreciation, but to others she bears the title of Niagara Falls


Source: April Jones, 2019

So She Flows was originally an entry in the 2019 Niagara Falls Writer’s Festival Poetry Contest. The contest was cancelled.

April Jones is a real estate agent as well as being employed with a winery, which she feels allows for her to engage in two passions of hers, and wine is obviously something this region is well known for as well as by trade, which to her is creative and fascinating. Jones loves anything creative from reading to writing to visual art of most any media. She moved to Niagara three years prior with her three children from Toronto and fell in love with the region instantly, and she feels like her love affair with it has only deepened and will continue to. She is grateful to share her experience of a place almost indescribable to her.