Charles Dickens visited Niagara Falls in 1841. On viewing the Canadian Falls from Table Rock he wrote, “Niagara was at once stamped upon my heart, an Image of Beauty; to remain there, changeless and indelible, until its pulses cease to beat, forever.”
I did my Christopher Columbus , late discovery but eye opening, of North America with my maiden trip to Florida, from Jamaica, In 1992. This was almost 500 years after Columbus’s discovery of the Americas. Yeah, Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas when he set his eyes on it while aboard his ships: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa maria circa 1494. One of my favourite reggae singers, Burning Spear, did a song in which he called Christopher Columbus a “damn liar” for saying he discovered the Americas”. I am at pains to let them realize that, discover simply means to find out. Doesn’t mean he is the first one. Fact is, Chris discovered America in 1492, while the Indians did it a much earlier. For fun, see Burning Spear song, and his historical rebuttal of Columbus’ discovery claim. Simply click on the 500th Anniversary stamp to see video.
Anyway, back to Niagara, Oh Niagara, the main focus of this blog. For me, I can say, I discovered North America in 1992 but it took almost 20 years before I graced my eyes on Niagara Falls. I could easily see why Charles Dickens got mesmerized. i was too. The water seem to be having fun rushing, tumbling, roaring, cascading, inundating the rocks as it heads down from lake Erie into Lake Ontario. There was an eerie note to it though. So pronounced was it, that i penned, or was it penciled or type, it into a poem. hmm. Whatever. Well, here is the poem I wrote, titled “Oh Niagara: Niagara Falls”. I hope you like it and the attempted review of it.
Niagara, Oh Niagara Falls
Your waters on my cheeks continuously tumble down
Whether as dew on a smiling face or tears on a frown.
You are always rumbling, and frolicking with a thundering shout
Whether on show for many or even if no one is about.
Niagara, Oh Niagara Falls.
We, are a beautiful awesome sight to behold.
Whether morning or night, our passion for a wet noisy continuous flow never grows old
We are a thing of beauty, and a beautiful thing too with love as our tonic
Whether we agree or not, our passion is becoming chronic.
Niagara, Oh Niagara Falls
Your beauty and awe keep eating away at my soul
Whether it’s your strength or vigour or the stories untold.
Your passion has reached, has uncovered and gone beyond my deepest inner core
Whether sadly or gladly, if you continue loving me like this, I will be no more.
The poem, “Oh Nigara, Niagara Falls” was trying to capture the passionate yet eerie feeling and outcome of a love affair that results in the demise of one of the lovers. The water while creating an awesome effect for the millions of onlookers as it falls 170 feet (52 metres) into the Maid of the Mist pool from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls is eroding the land inch by inch. At the American Falls, the water plunges vertically ranging from 70 to 110 feet (21 to 34 metres) to the rock at the base of the Falls and is doing a similarly passionate job of eroding the land.
More than 6 million cubic feet (168,000 cubic metres) of water go over the crest line every minute during peak daytime tourist hours. It is difficult to determine the depth of the water at the crest line due to various flows and conditions of the river.
The erosion is estimated at 1 foot (32 cm) approximately every 10 years. The hard top layer of dolomite limestone is underlain by softer layers of sandstone and shale. The tumbling waters cut away the shale and sandstone layers until the undermined top layer collapses, thus maintaining the vertical face of the Falls.
About 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls was 7 miles (11 kilometers) downstream from its present position. Until the early 1950’s, the Falls eroded at the average rate of 3 feet (approximately 1 metre) per year.
By the way, the word “Onguiaahra” appears on maps as early as 1641. Both it and the later version “Ongiara” are Indian words generally interpreted as meaning “The Straight”, although the more romantic “Thunder of Waters” is sometimes given. By the time the first white man arrived at the Falls, the name in general use was “Niagara”.
Interestingly, I was looking at the link and relationship between the Niagara River, the Niagara Falls and the bordering land between Canada and United States of America. One can sense the love, but the outcome while being awesome and scenic, over times leads to demise. The Niagara River seems to be the winner, followed by the land and the loser is the Fall. If the land continues eroding away, the Fall will be no more and the land would be flat. Niagara River and Land but no Falls. It definitely doesn’t seem like a symbiotic relationship. In a nutshell, the Niagara Falls, although the puissance and glory of the trio, will be a mist if not less.
Needless to say, if we are not careful, we will find our love affairs, jobs, social friendships, and even our lives being eroded by passions and addictions and cravings that we forged with glitter and glamour; yet as time goes on we realize that we are just being caressed and scraped by a friction that looks good in picture but inside it is life threatening. It seems the age old adage goes: not everything that glitters is gold. Have you ever wonder if your passion and love is making you feel “wasted away?”
You may get a free download of a collection of my 1983 poems ( I was 20 years old then).
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