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  • By Daniel Leach

Devil's Hole*

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.

—November, 2013

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.

1 Comment

Mar 17, 2022

I like this poem. There is a solid, re-assuring, Hardyesque feel to it, even though it is (as his poems often were) about ghosts.

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