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P.K. Page at age 90.

Duane Prentice/å©2006DuanePrentice

She saw two moons in the prairie sky.

As a girl, asked if she were cursed

with seeing double, she replied,

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Oh, no. If I were, then I'd see four.

In countries with no cold,

snow from her childhood

fell circular and soft in the glass globe of her inner eye,

dressing the blossoms as if they were brides.

Her only child was the child she dreamed

and folded in a box like a scarf

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made out of threads of rain. You could say

she neglected God and his angels,

though the invisible made sense in all her senses. Heaven she found

in the gaze of a glorious macaw

with the face of Groucho Marx,

and once, with her calm uncanny eye,

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as a marmoset in a rage sunk its teeth

in the flesh just above her wrist,

she noticed its fingers, were the stems of violets.

In a poem, at the moment of death,

the poet asked, What is the correct procedure?

Cut the umbilicus, they said.

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Now she has cut it and risen like words from a page.

Beneath her, the Earth is the size of a plum

and the blue of a plum when it is ripe with morning.

Is the body still a body, she wonders,

if it is drifting so high? How, then, to prepare it?

Wash it in sacred water, is her own reply.

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Dress it in silk for the wedding.



Italics are quotations from P.K. Page's poem About Death.

Governor-General's Award-winner Lorna Crozier is the author of 14 books of poetry, most recently The Blue Hour of the Day. A friend of Page (sharing the stage with her at literary festivals and benefits), she says of her fellow poet, who died on Thursday at age 93: "She proved to the world in the fifties that there was a possibility for Canadian poetry of deep feeling and remarkable intelligence."

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