‘Helen Keller at Niagara Falls’ by Meryl Stratford The Society August 7, 2014 Popular Poetry Archives 15 Comments She could not see the avalanche cascade from foam-flecked marble rapids, being blind, but torrents of egrets and apple blossoms played whirlpools of nebulous beauty in her mind. She could not hear, tumultuous mystery, the thunderous plunge, a sea’s storm-breaking crests, crescendo of a choral symphony, only the silence when the music rests. But the earth beneath her trembled. She could feel a power like perseverance, truth, or love, the joyous lifting of a bridal veil, a thirst fulfilled, the mist, the memory of her teacher’s cool, wet fingers like a brand, burning that first word water in her hand. Meryl Stratford is a poet living in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Featured Image: “Niagara Falls” by Frederic Edwin Church. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. 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CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 15 Responses Reid McGrath August 8, 2014 This is an extraordinary poem. I don’t know if I would ever think of Helen Keller at Niagara Falls. The alliterative “sea’s storm-breaking” holds me up a little. It seems to be too sibilant. The wedding imagery also seems a trifle random. But then again I also see the waterfall as a sort of “bridal veil.” (EDIT: No it doesn’t seem random at all. I understand it perfectly now: The moment she KNOWS.) Good job. Reply Meryl Stratford August 9, 2014 Thanks, Reid! I grew up near Niagara Falls so it was part of my childhood. When I learned Helen Keller had visited there, I wondered, and then imagined, what she experienced. Reply Lenny DellaRocca August 9, 2014 A wonderful poem. Love your control and use of rhyme. Nicely done. Frank De Canio June 28, 2016 A truly magnificent poem, Meryl. And as a writer myself, I parse for flaws. Nothing but good craft here. OK, if I can quibble one tiny bit; because of the extra syllable, and irregular meter of the ante-penultimate line: ‘a thirst fulfilled, the mist, the memory of’ I’d change to: ‘a thirst fulfilled, the mist, remembrance of’ = scans perfectly as iambic pentameter. Nina Romano August 11, 2014 Thanks for sending the poem my way–lovely imagery and an altogether delightful read. Reply Adrienne August 11, 2014 That poem is powerful in its imagery. The last line moved me to tears, relating the Falls to the memory of her first word. BRAVO!! Reply Elisa Albo August 12, 2014 A beautiful poem. I love a work where the reader feels what is being withheld or not experienced by the subject or not in the same way. Lovely imagery. Reply DOLORES VACCA August 12, 2014 WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DESCRIPTION OF THE PAINTING, THE POWER AND BEAUTY OF WATER! THE POEM NOT ONLY PAINTS A VIVID ANIMATED PICTURE, BUT I AM NOW ABLE TO EXPERIENCE ANOTHER DIMENSION OF “WATER” FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE…THAT OF A BLIND PERSON. BRAVO!! SUPERBLY DONE….. Reply Dana Vacca August 13, 2014 Just a WONDERFULLY, creative piece… both in concept and meaning, as well as execution! The taking of two things that to most are seeminly unrelated and juxtaposing them in the same time and space is most magnificent! (and so very well performed!) I love this one!!! Reply Jaime Ferreyros August 15, 2014 It felt and sounded like being there, standing in front of the falls. Reply Christina Ross August 15, 2014 Meryl- thank you so much for keeping art in poetry and poetry in art alive! The imagery was beautiful and so clear as to feel the earth under her feet. I will enjoy reading this poem again and again. Reply Kieran April 28, 2015 I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written! Reply Corey browning May 19, 2015 This poem truly sends shivers up my spine. The Volta in the end truly nailing the piece in perfectly. Truly a beautiful sonnet. It truly showcases, not as a writer imagining, rather, feelings so deep into the emotions of what Hellen Keller would REALLY feel thus it feels so utterly real and natural. Truly a haunting piece. Thank you for your work! Reply Neal Dachstadter June 25, 2016 I agree, well put Corey. Reply Elizabeth Boquet October 21, 2016 Wonderful work! Corey says it all. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.