New York Noctures by Arthur Stringer
Arthur John Arbuthno Stringer was born in Chatham, Ontario on February 26, 1874. He was a high spirited boy who spent his childhood days fishing, swimming, raiding orchards and manning a pirate ship. When Arthur was ten years old, he moved to London, Ontario with his family.
Two years later, in 1886, he won the Diploma of Honour as the student with the highest mark on the High School Entrance Exam. During his high school years at the London Collegiate Institute, Arthur Stringer demonstrated his enjoyment of the written language by founding and editing a school magazine entitled Chips.
As an undergraduate at the University of Toronto Arthur Stringer enjoyed early recognition for his writing. He contributed poems and prose to several magazines including Toronto’s Saturday Night and The Canadian Magazine. In 1894 he published his first volume of verse entitled Watchers of Twilight, and Other Poems.
After a year at Oxford University, and a summer cruising the Baltic and Northern Sea, Arthur Stringer found a job with the Pere Marquette Railway at Saginaw. He didn’t enjoy the job and sought employment elsewhere. His efforts were soon rewarded with a position at the Montreal Herald, which was followed in 1898 with a job at the American Press Association in New York City. During this time he continued to submit contributions to magazines, and in 1903 his first novel The Silver Poppy was published.
At the time of his success with The Silver Poppy, Arthur Stringer met and married Jobyna Howland. They moved to a fruit farm in Cedar Springs, Ontario. The marriage ended in divorce in 1914. He subsequently married Margaret Arbuthnott Stringer and had three sons named Bob, Barney and Jack. In 1921 the Stringer family moved to Mountain Lakes, New Jersey where he wrote several novels and books of prose including The Prairie Stories and The Old Woman Remembers.
In 1946 Arthur Stringer was awarded an Honorary D.Litt., at the University of Western Ontario.
Arthur Stringer died on September 13, 1950 in New Jersey.
Sample Poem: THE LOVER IN THE SUBWAY
Builded of stone and steel they stand, the pride of our puny age;
Inlaid with granite and iron they run, the roads of our hurrying rage,
Arrogant cliffs of wonder and arroyos lamped with flame—
But each at the breath of Time shall vanish the way it came.
Bridges across dark waters, tunnels beneath the earth,
These shall be swept away as though they had known no birth
And the roofs and the marbled walls melt down to the waiting dust
And the turrets of stone be tumbled and the glories of steel be rust.
Cobweb and gossamer they, that the centuries brush aside
Where the eagle will build her nest in their pinnacled lofts of pride,
And the serpent along the street-curb and the grass in the empty square
Will give scant thought of the glory lost hands once fashioned there.
But out of the ruins one thing must triumph and live, My own,
And that is our love, our deathless love, surviving all metal and stone;
Though cities go out like candles, though rivers dry up like dew,
Over the tombs of Time will echo my timeless cry for You.
Yet, here in the Subway murk, where the flailing wheels strike fire,
I wonder if men loved women in the time-lost streets of Tyre,
If a breast as soft as your breast and a heart as warm with trust
Can sleep but a drift of dust now under Cydonia’s dust?
Featuring cover artwork by Mia Sandhu.