Classics  
Canadian    1916 -   
Patricia Kathleen Page (born November 23, 1916), commonly known as P. K. Page, is a Canadian poet. She was born in England and moved with her family to Canada in 1919. She now lives in Victoria, British Columbia. In 1977 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada ... Read more
Patricia Kathleen Page (born November 23, 1916), commonly known as P. K. Page, is a Canadian poet. She was born in England and moved with her family to Canada in 1919. She now lives in Victoria, British Columbia. In 1977 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada ... Read more

In love they wore themselves in a green embrace.
A silken rain fell through the spring upon them.
In the park she fed the swans and he
whittled nervously with his strange hands.
And white was mixed with all their colours
as if they drew it from the flowering trees.

At night his two finger whistle brought her down
the waterfall stairs to his shy smile
which like an eddy, turned her round and round
lazily and slowly so her will
was nowhere—as in dreams things are and aren't.

Walking along avenues in the dark
street lamps sang like sopranos in their heads
with a voilence they never understood
and all their movements when they were together
had no conclusion.

Only leaning into the question had they motion;
after they parted were savage and swift as gulls.
asking and asking the hostile emptiness
they were as sharp as partly sculptured stone
and all who watched, forgetting, were amazed
to see them form and fade before their eyes.

Whoever has no house now will never have one.
    Whoever is alone will stay alone
    Will sit, read, write long letters through the evening
    And wander on the boulevards, up and down...

  - from Autumn Day, Rainer Maria Rilke


Its stain is everywhere.
The sharpening air
of late afternoon
is now the colour of tea.
Once-glycerined green leaves
burned by a summer sun
are brittle and ochre.
Night enters day like a thief.
And children fear that the beautiful daylight has gone.
Whoever has no house now will never have one.

It is the best and the worst time.
Around a fire, everyone laughing,
brocaded curtains drawn,
nowhere-anywhere-is more safe than here.
The whole world is a cup
one could hold in one's hand like a stone
warmed by that same summer sun.
But the dead or the near dead
are now all knucklebone.
Whoever is alone will stay alone.

Nothing to do. Nothing to really do.
Toast and tea are nothing.
Kettle boils dry.
Shut the night out or let it in,
it is a cat on the wrong side of the door
whichever side it is on. A black thing
with its implacable face.
To avoid it you
will tell yourself you are something,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening.

Even though there is bounty, a full harvest
that sharp sweetness in the tea-stained air
is reserved for those who have made a straw
fine as a hair to suck it through-
fine as a golden hair.
Wearing a smile or a frown
God's face is always there.
It is up to you
if you take your wintry restlessness into the town
and wander on the boulevards, up and down.

 
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