Poetry Friday: A Grain of Sand by P.K. Page

Friday, January 28th, 2011

A year ago this January, well known and beloved Canadian poet P.K. Page died.   She was 93.  In the latter part of her career, Page wrote some children’s books, and in particular a poem called “A Grain of Sand” (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2003) that was illustrated by Vladyana KrykorkaA Grain of Sand is a very short book, based on the famous lines of poet William Blake — “To See a World in a Grain of Sand/And Heaven in a Wild Flower.”   It was written at the request of Derek Holman for his oratario, An Invisible Reality.

The book is very simple with lush illustrations expressing what it is to be filled with wonder and awe as a child, and how one’s imagination “Can see in a daisy in the grass/Angels and archangels pass”  or “See outer space become so small/That the hand of a child could hold it all.”    I’m not surprised at all that Page was requested to write this book as she is a poet most fond of the mystical paradoxes of life, some of which are hard to grasp for children.  My daughter, for one, found this book perplexing;  however, I enjoyed exposing her to it nonetheless — call it paradoxical parenting!  That some things indeed, are a mystery is part of this book’s appeal.

For more on P.K. Page, you might want to check out the Canadian literary journal The Malahat Review‘s P.K. Page: A Tribute , but I do also recommend her booksThe Glass Air was one of my favorites in my undergraduate years.

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Elaine at Wild Rose Reader.