They say that there are ghosts that haunt this place
Of ones who long ago met their end here,
But in the fern-cooled air that bathes my face,
And sound of rock and rushing water near,
There is the timeless, elemental feel,
Where outward things in our lives seem unreal,
And spirits of all things and all times trace
And as if on the very rocks appear.
These giant boulders and this steep cliff wall
Are the same that someone climbed long ago,
And though they make ourselves seem frail and small,
Yet lift the spirit like no place I know,
For I am mindful of that rich, wide store
Of being that I know has gone before,
And souls of men and beasts and plant and all
Things that into this single moment flow.
Yes, ghosts do haunt this place, as well they should,
For, without them, we could not nearly see
What part we have in this unfolding good,
Or claim the soul has to eternity—
And so, I walk and soak in every scene
Of all beauty the open soul can glean,
And dream, when darkness comes, those spirits would
From out the shadows come, and talk with me.
*Devil’s Hole is an indentation, roughly half-cylindrical in
shape, in the side of the gorge made by the lower Niagara River
several miles down-river from Niagara Falls. The normally steep,
but sloping sides of the gorge here drop nearly straight down,
and it is into this pit that legend has it that a band of Indians
threw a group of British soldiers during the French and Indian
War, many of whose battles took place in this region. There is
today, a small park with a set of steep stone stairs on which
one can hike to the bottom where a foot paths wind through
lush forest of moss covered stones, ferns, and vines beside the
rapidly rushing water of the Niagara River.
Daniel is a poet living in Houston, Texas. He has spent much of his life fighting for the ideals of classical culture and poetry. His latest volume of poems is entitled Places the Soul Goes.