Florence May Gibbs Biography
Florence May Gibbs (née Alt; April 29th, 1869 – February 5, 1960) was an American poet most famous for authoring the poem Weaving.
Born in Bloomington, Illinois on April 29th, 1869, Florence's parents moved to Rochester, New York soon thereafter. In Rochester she received her education at the local Rochester Free Academy, began her career as an author, married and lived with her husband, State Court of Claims Judge Milton E. Gibbs, and later died there.
Florence began writing verses in childhood, and before the age of 14 her poems were starting to be published in leading magazines and newspapers. At the age of 18 she graduated from Rochester free academy, after which she continued studying English literature. In May, 1891, she compiled her previously published poems into a book titled A Child of Song: Verses, a book in which many of the included poems were written before her fifteenth birthday.
In 1892, at the age of 23, the poem which has been the most enduring, Weaving, began to appear in many newspaper publications. In the process of time, however, the source of the poem became obscured, appearing in different versions with different titles (such as: The Weaver, The Weaving, The Tapestry, and My Life is But a Weaving), and under different names of authorship. Most often it was attributed to one of a few different famous persons who made use of the poem and thus became associated with it by their audiences. The poem has, for instance, at various times been attributed to the Catholic priest and poet John Banister Tabb, the hymnast and minister Grant Colfax Tullar, and the Christan author and WWII concentration camp survivor Corrie Ten Boom. The poem was a favorite of Corrie Ten Boom, who often quoted it or recited a version of it when she spoke and attributed it to Tullar, believing it to be his work. The version of the poem linked below is of the original 1892 version written by Florence rather than the version often quoted by Ten Boom.
Florence spent time later in life traveling extensively in Europe and Mexico. She gave lectures before women's organizations in the 1920s and '30s. Florence passed away in Rochester, New York on February 5th, 1960 at the age of ninety-one.
Florence May Gibbs Poems
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me;
The fields are haunted! Where there stood
A green-gowned, gold-haired sisterhood,
The Sea of Silence
When between us two there rolled
Wide Atlantic's sea,
Within my little cottage
Are peace and warmth and light;