Florence Bernard Clarke was married to Colonel Archibald Clarke, a wealthy cotton merchant and retired army officer, from Manchester. Archibald lost his first wife at a young age, leaving him with two children, George and Mildred. Later, he met and married Florence and in 1881 they moved to Thornbrough, Ryde, where their daughter Nora was born in 1882. Florence and Archibald had two daughters, Nora and Vanda. A son, Cecil, died in infancy. The Clarke/Kennedy family archive has recently been loaned to Historic Ryde Society by member Tony Packer, and includes diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, wills and letters. Many of these items are now on display in Ryde District Heritage Centre, including the volume of poems by Florence Clarke.
Yestere’en as I was wandering,
Down by the brooklet clear,
I saw near the foot of an old oak
A something for some one dear ;
T’was only a small blue flower
That grows on the brooklet’s rim,
A curl of gold by it’s side there lay.
A curl that was meant for him.
Methought I would wait and listen
If perchance the someone came.
For I knew a girl with golden hair,
And what if it were the same.
I saw emerge from the shadow
A man with an athlete’s form,
He lifted the curl so gently
And kissed it with passion warm,
Then close to his breast he placed them,
The flower and golden hair.
Why did I stand and shudder,
What matter had I for care ?