The dedication in The Workshops and Other Poems, the only volume of verse by Florence Nightingale Horner Sherk (1857-1930), otherwise known as "Gay Page". James Hardy Sherk (1887-1975), a lawyer, was the poet's only surviving child.
A VERY CASUAL EXPLORATION OF CANADA’S SUPPRESSED, IGNORED AND FORGOTTEN
|Den Lange November|
James Benson Nablo [trans. Henning Kehler]
Copenhagen: Nyt Nordisk, 1948
|The Angels of Mons, R. Crowhurst, c.1920|
|The Globe, 11 April 1916|
A German officer later taken prisoner asked:—A century later, we're still looking for those testimonies, and that of the "nurse who had been brought into contact with one of the soldiers from the battle [sic] of Mons." In their absence, I recommend "The Angel of Mons" by Ethel Ursula Foran.
"Who were those men with the bows and arrows? We tried to get their leader, the one on the white horse, but couldn't hit him."
"It is sworn by numerous witnesses," said Mr. Kuhring, "that when the British came to examine the bodies of the dead, by far the larger number of them had no wounds on their bodies."
|The Battle of Mons, 23 August 1914|
THE ANGEL OF MONS(A legend of the Great War of 1914-1918.)
The Great War that Napoleon in exile foretold
O'er the nations of Europe like a tidal-wave roll'd—
Crumbling Crowns into dust, snapping Sceptres in twain,
Shaking Thrones to earth to ne'er rise again,
Scattering armies of might, burning humbler homes,
Laying low in the dust spires, temples and domes,
Bringing death and grim ruin in its terrible wake
Until half of all Europe was a blood-crimsoned lake.
The fires of destruction blazed fierce on each shore,
All sounds were drowned out in the thundering roar
Of cannon, of rifle, of bomb and of shell,
Turning heavenly peace into furious hell.
While Death in all forms stalked over the world,
And its blood-stained banners were fiercely unfurled.
There were terrors untold in the Teutons' advance
Which rallied the forces of Britain and France.
It was thus in the midst of that world-shaking strife,
A struggle intense to save Liberty's life,
That the darkness of night was lit into a glow,
In the heavens above, in the valleys below,
When the flashing of shells, as they rushed through the sky,
To the thundering guns of the trench made reply,
When the "curtain of fire" cast its blaze o'er the plain,
And the soil was deep-drenched with torrents of rain,
When the signals of death rushed over the sky
And the hovering aeros inter circled on high,
When each trench was at once a shelter and tomb,
As the spirits of life and death met in the gloom,
Whence eager eyes watched for a move or a sign
To reveal the fate of their much-harassed line;
The sentinels on duty gazed anxious afar
For a hint of the fight in the trenches of war.
All through the long night as the Germans advance,
Sharp vigils are kept by both Britain and France.
Not a man at the front has a moment's repose.
No watcher dare sleep though his aching eyes close.
'Twas thus, 'midst the shreaks of a furious night,
A vision appeared over Mons' naming height, —
A something that seem'd supernatural to all —
A something that thousands of soldiers recall.
Was it a spirit of Hope or a spirit of Doom
That arose on their sight amidst stygean gloom?
What is it that the watcher with night-glass there cons?
They call it, who saw it, "The Angel of Mons."
The soldiers of France, looking out of the dark,
Thought they saw on the hills Saint Joan of Arc,
Clad in armour of silver, with a sabre of gold,
Advancing to lead them as she did of old
They claimed that the vision so wondrous to see
Was a heavenly sign of a grand victory;
And strong grew each heart that was growing faint,
As they thought they were fighting 'neath the eye of their Saint
The soldiers of Britain saw the vision as well;
That wonderful tale these brave fellows tell
Just as ghost-stories are told with lowering breath,
For they feared such a vision far more than death.
Then one whispered the word, in a moment of awe,
It was England's Saint George that the whole army saw.
The courage at once revived in each breast,
Of victory's wave they were now on the crest —
They declared that the War was now rightly begun —
And would end with the crush of the barbaric Hun.
The Belgians beheld Saint Michael the Great
In the vision of Mons, like a signal of Fate,
As he drove the dark legions from Heaven above.
So his power and his justice again he will prove
By leading the ranks that are fighting for Right.
By commanding once more against soldiers of Might.
It could not be other than the Archangel there
That appeared like a spectre, in the sulphurous air;
His invincible sword he unsheathes as of yore,
He will fight for God as he once fought before,
And the hosts of dark evil will again be hurl'd
From the face of the earth clear out of the world:
Such the Belgians thought was that vision so bright
That appeared above Mons in the depths of the night.
Be Michael, or George or Joan the Saint
That appeared over Mons amidst glimmering faint,
Like a spectre let loose from the region of ghosts,
Sent to cheer on to glory fair Liberty's hosts,
The Angel of Mons was a harbinger true
Of the victory the Allies eventually knew.
It may be a legend, or it may be a fact —
With the spirits of Power it may be a pact —
Or it may be a phantom of some horrible dream —
Or it may be of God a forerunning gleam;
But the Angel of Mons was the polar star
Of many a hero in that terrible war.
It is said that soldiers, like sailors, are all
Superstitious and fear the supernatural;
They see spirits in trees and ghosts on the waves,
The dead in shrouds coming out of their graves,
They shudder to think of the spirits that walk,
And the beasts that like human beings oft talk.
It is likely that all the things that they dread —
Be they the living or be they the dead —
Arose to their fancy as on Mons' grim height
They witnessed the vision upon that dread night.
But one thing is certain and all question defies,
That Angel brought victory to the Allies.
If you/your family and friends are unfamiliar with posting online reviews, we have included some guidelines below. Online reviews are a great way for authors and readers to interact online. Reviews are critical to both publishers and readers alike, and many consumers rely on these opinions when making purchases on Amazon.Lord knows this is anything but the golden age of publishing. I wish the publisher well. I wish the book well; it deserves to by widely read. But I cannot call on family and friends to plant online reviews. I cannot ask them to laud something they haven't read or encourage them to think better of a book because of some small connection to yours truly. Amazon customer reviews are unreliable and ill-informed as it is. Who wants to be part of that mess.
|Time, 4 April 1983|
Like a lumbering elephant, Flight 315 began to move down runway fourteen, accelerating rapidly toward the computer-precalculated speed of 196 miles per hour. When the speed was reached, the co-pilot called out "rotation"and the captain, both hands now on the wheel of the control column, hauled back smoothly and strongly. Instantly, the nose rotated up into the climb position, and the enormous aircraft, 196 feet between its blinking wingtip lights and 232 feet between nose and tail, leapt gracefully up into the black night. It was 2:02 on the morning of August 29.
Like a lumbering elephant, Flight 007 began to move down runway 31L, accelerating rapidly toward the computer-precalculated speed at which the co-pilot would call for rotation. When the rotation came, the captain, both hands now on the wheel on the control column, hauled back smoothly and strongly. Instantly, the nose came up into the climb position, and the enormous aircraft, 196 feet between its blinking wingtip lights and 232 feet between nose and tail, leapt gracefully up into the black night. It was 12:24 on the morning of September 1.August 29, not September 1. The flight and runway numbers are different, too. Again, Starmageddon is set in the future; albeit a future in which the lessons of Flight 007 are forgotten. Oh, people still remember the disaster, its a real topic of conversation, but that doesn't prevent this from happening:
— Massacre 747
At 5:53 the Soviet pilot reported: "804. I have executed the launch."
In one second the lights of the rockets, as burning propellants thrust the missiles ever faster toward the target, had become mere pinpoints in the distance. The rockets headed unerringly for the brilliant navigation lights and the red rotating beacons of the target.
Pilot 804 knew this his heart-seeking missile, if functioning properly, would have locked onto one go the river of intense heat that the target's huge engines pouring out into the frigid high-altitude air.
At 18:26:20 the Soviet pilot reported: "805. I have executed the launch."One can understand Rohmer's temptation; Massacre 747 is one hell of a book, and it contains some of his very best writing:
In one second the lights of the rockets, as burning propellants thrust the missiles ever supersonically faster toward the target, had become mere pinpoints in the distance. The rockets headed unerringly for the brilliant navigation lights and the red rotating beacons of the target.
The fighter pilot knew this his heart-seeking missile, if functioning properly, would have "locked on" to one go the target's huge engines pouring out a river of intense heat into the frigid high-altitude air.
— Massacre 747
The mortally wounded 747 cut through the night sky, illuminating it for miles around. With only one wing it slowly began to roll. It was like a comet. Its long, distinctive humplike cockpit and nose thrust ahead and clear of the ball of flame as if trying to run away, to avoid being consumed. Inside the roiling fire all was being engulfed or spit out by the explosion into the icy air. Bodies were torn apart. Blankets, luggage, seats, toys – everything movable or ripped away from floors and ceilings at the rear of the massive aircraft – were spewed out the hole where the tail had been.
— Massacre 747
The flaming and mortally wounded 747 cut through the night sky, illuminating it for miles around. With only one wing, it slowly began to roll. Its long, distinctive humplike cockpit and nose thrust ahead and clear of the ball of flame, as if trying to avoid being consumed. Inside, the roiling fire engulfed all that was not spit out into the icy air by the explosion. Bodies were torn apart. Blankets, luggage, seats, toys – everything that was movable or had been ripped away from floors and ceilings at the rear of the massive fuselage – were spewed out the hole where the tail had been.Who wouldn't want to revisit those images. Besides, it gave opportunity to fix that awkward sentence about the roiling fire.
|Books in Canada, May 1986|
Pieces of the shattered engine blade penetrated the thin fuselage skin like a knife through gossamer.
Pieces of the shattered engine blade penetrated the thin fuselage skin like a knife through gossamer.Object: A 241-page hardcover in blue binding. The cover art by Peter Mossman reminds me of the very worst albums sold during my time at Sam the Record Man (1983-85).
— Massacre 747