To meet unexpectedly a new poet of originality and power, and to feel for a few minutes the charm of his frank, sincere and warm-blooded personality, was my privilege in a Yonge Street bookstore, one fortunate day in January, 1916. The poet was Mr. Alfred Gordon of Montreal, and my attention had just been drawn by Mr. Albert Britnell to Father Dollard's appreciative critique, when in walked Mr. Gordon with a volume of his Poems under his arm.
Mr. Gordon was born in London, England, in 1888. He was educated in a private school, and at Finsbury Technical College, where he studied for three years and graduated with a certificate in Mechanical Engineering. Shortly after graduation he was employed by the Underfeed Stoker Company, and in connection with this company, first saw Canada in 1908, when he came out on the Allan Line steamer, Corinthian, assisting in boiler tests to determine the relative efficiency of mechanical stoking as against hand-firing.
This was the voyage on which the Corinthian came into collision with the Malin Head, and Mr. Gordon was stranded with the rest for a fortnight at Levis. Through a misunderstanding the steamer continued homeward without him, and he was left alone and penniless.
Eventually he got back to England, but not finding congenial employment of a permanent nature, he decided, in June, 1910, to cross the ocean again, this time to settle in Canada. He carne first to Toronto where he says,
I was engaged in almost unbelievably humble work, before I went to Lachine and entered the employ of The Dominion Bridge Company as a structural draughtsman.
Mr. Gordon stuck to draughting, 'eventually making good,' and was with The St. Lawrence Bridge Company when the Great War broke out, unsettling industrial conditions and causing loss of employment to himself and others.
The drudgery–to him–of a clerkship in an insurance office provided a livelihood for a time, when he resigned to become Managing Editor of The Canadian Spectator and Bookman, a new journalistic venture with headquarters in Montreal. In this city Mr. Gordon resides with his mother, to whose devotion and guidance he ascribes whatever attainment and success he has achieved.
There was a time in boyhood, ere life ceased
To hold a miracle in every hour,
We saw a City shining in the East
That drew us towards it with a magic power.
O Spring! To whom the Poets of all time
Have made sweet rhyme;
And unto Lovers, above all, most dear!
How shall they hymn thee in this latter year,