01 May 2015

May Day and the Promise of May

Verse for May Day by "Gay Page", Florence Nightingale Horner Sherk. Like last year's, this is drawn from The Workshops and Other Poems, her lone volume, published in 1919 by the Fort William Times-Journal.

A complex woman was Mrs Sherk. In Victoria's time, when women rarely advanced beyond the position of teacher, she became principal of Fort William's Ogden School. In 1907, she reinvented herself as a journalist, became one of the earliest members of Canadian Women's Press Club, and yet was a fervent anti-suffragist.

I'd not heard of Florence Nightingale Horner Sherk until two years ago when I rescued her book, a library discard, just as it was about to be tossed, stripped and pulped. It has since provided hours of enjoyment.

Well, an hour, anyway. It's a very slim book.

The poetess pairs her May Day poem, "May Day", with a photograph titled "The Promise of May".

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