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Poetry and prose of P. K. Page : A study in conflict of opposites Farrugia, Jill I. Toll 1971

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THE POETRY AND PROSE OF P. K. PAGE: A STUDY IN CONFLICT OF OPPOSITES by JILL I. TOLL FARRUGIA B. A., Queen's University, 1963  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in the Department of English  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April, 1 9 7 1  In p r e s e n t i n g an the  thesis  advanced degree at Library  I further for  this  shall  agree  scholarly  by  his  of  this  written  the  fulfilment of  University  of  make i t f r e e l y that permission  p u r p o s e s may  representatives. thesis  in p a r t i a l  for  be It  financial  available  for  for extensive  g r a n t e d by  the  i s understood gain  permission.  Department The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, C a n a d a  British  Columbia  shall  requirements  Columbia,  H e a d o f my  be  I agree  r e f e r e n c e and copying of  that  not  the  that  study.  this  thesis  Department  copying or  for  or  publication  allowed without  my  CONTENTS  Chapter I.  Page CONFLICT OF OPPOSITES  II.  CONFLICT OF SOLITUDE WITH MULTITUDE  III.  CONFLICT OF RESTRAINT WITH FREEDOM  IV.  IMAGISTIC CONFLICT OF STONE AND FLOWER  V.  CONFLICT OF SUBJECTIVITY OF PERCEPTION WITH POETIC OBJECTIVITY  WORKS CITED  1  14  . . > . . .  60  . . . .  84  94  107  Patricia K. Page's prose and poetry exhibit a dynamic creative tension resulting from the conflict of opposites in theme and imagery patterns and in the poet's attitude and perception of her subjects. The concept of separateness results from the thematic opposition of forces of solitude and multitude which focus on the despair of the isolated individual unable to emerge from his 'frozen' cave-like existence and to attain a community of shared feeling.  Highly developed  black-white dichotomy of images reinforces the conflict of obsessive self-love and pity with the universal need for self-awareness.  Some of  the poet's subjects succeed in this human search for truth, beauty, and self-fulfillment.  Many, however, succumb to loneliness and paranoic  isolation. The basic conflict i s seen through surface-depth alternations of imagery, the phases of the Rebirth archetypal pattern of transition from terrestrial to aquatic form.  The conflict of opposites of isolation and  involvement in her early work emphasizes the strength of the pull towards confinement of the self.  Then, as Page progresses:*in objective perception  of her individuals, there is a loosening of the force of isolation and a gradual emergence of the individual from solitude into multitude. The conflict of opposites of restraint against freedom grows out of the basic juxtaposition of forces.  Self-isolation and the vulnerability  of innocence are linked as states of unawareness.  Children, social  classes and adult individuals are portrayed as victims of indifferent constraining authority, social barriers, and war.  Page's Marxian love  of humanity dissolves into a Freudian interpretation of communal existence as an escape from the fears of solitude. The poet's presentation of an active social consciousness is a continuance of the contrapositioning of freedom and restrain operating on: and within individuals. In Page's work, organic imagery is suggestive of the powers of v i t a l i t y and the l i f e force - of multitude, universality, and personal freedom.  Stagnation, inertia, isolation, and self-love are visualized  by images of metal, stone or rock.  This metal-flower contraposition  evolves into archetypal antipathies of Paradise and Hades. The descent from sunlit gardens above to the dark caverns below takes the form of Freud's Nirvana principle or the f i r s t phase of the Rebirth cycle.  And  the renewal of v i t a l i t y , the modulation from stone into flower marks the f i n a l ascent stage of Rebirth. The pattern of Rebirth related to man's rituals has symbolic meaning for Page's work. The goal of the poet i s to remove the " f i l t e r of subjectivity" placed over reality and to realize the potential of being reborn into awareness. Ararat becomes a symbol of the power of regeneration and of the unity of a l l l i f e . of opposites in themes and imagery.  P. K. Page presents conflict  Yet her primary concern remains that  the need for communal experience is greater than the negative desire for self-isolation from reality;  that love is more sustaining than pity;  that freedom is preferable to indifferent authority; that the search for beauty and truth must overcome fear and horror in the lives of individuals.  This paper was written under the supervision of Dr. Donald G. Stephens, who always found the time to encourage me and to c r i t i c i z e my work as i t progressed. Dr. Stephens deserves special thanks for stimulating my interest in P. K. Page. Since I was at liberty to accept or reject his suggestions, I am alone responsible for any errors.  CHAPTER  CONFLICT  OF  1  OPPOSITES  Some people have thought that her poetry was prose; others have thought that her prose was poetry. But, i f i t i s impossible to categorize her, i t i s worthwhile to understand her. 1  The creative art of Patricia Kathleen Page has not been the subject of any comprehensive study in Canadian criticism since John Sutherland, i n a 1947 volume of Northern Review, presented some comments of interpretation of Page's prose and poetry. He did however set forward a justification for such an activity by helping to formally establish Miss Page as a poet worthy to be understood and to be c r i t i c a l l y examined. Since the appearance of Sutherland's article, such critics as George Woodcock, Millar McClure, Munro Beattie, Northrop Frye and Fred Cogswell, to name but a few, have briefly reviewed individual volumes of verse published by Miss Page - such criticism culminating in a I967 review in the University of Toronto Quarterly of her latest book, Cry Ararat1 by David M. Hayne who emphasized transitional aspects in her writing, showing influences and evolving developments in Page's work. Neufville Shaw, a fellow poet and Page's co-editor of the magazine Preview, provided a contemporary's impression of the poet and her  art;  the interrelationship between Page's poetry and her more recent  proffering of painting is examined by Anne Francis in Canadian Art 1963; and an illuminating personal glimpse of the poet, by Page herself, can be found in Canadian Literature I 9 6 9 . Yet, despite such critiques, P. K. Page s t i l l resides in most studies of Canadian literature as one-of-a-list' - perhaps of poets of 1  the forties, a period of great awakening in the evolution of Canadian poetry;  of Canadian women poets, at times viewed as a subculture;  the Montreal Preview group.  or of  David Hayne remarks that Page's literary  reputation has been sustained over twenty-five years, laudable since i t is based on infrequent and sporadic publishings.  In a l l , Miss Page has  presented four collections of her poems, several uncollected short stories, most of which originally appeared in volumes of Preview, and  one  novel written under the pseudonym of Judith Cape. A study of Page's writing when viewed in total perspective tends to substantiate the idea that the most sustaining works are marked by a vivid and distinctive "creative tension".  It is the major purpose of  this thesis to examine the nature and origin of such "creative tension" directly exhibited in the prose and poetry, and indirectly in the etchings and paintings of P. K. Page, to show that such elastic v i t a l i t y resides in the poet's presentation of "conflict of opposites" in her dominant themes, recurring imagery patterns, personal attitudes to her subjects and in the unique focus of perception in her art forms.  The  creation of a state of tension through the juxtaposition of opposites pervades Page's work and a descriptive analysis of this quality reveals a unified sensibility operating in Page's art that uniquely distinguishes her approach from that of other writers.  Shaw and John Sutherland in respective reviews of Page's work comment on a form of this "tension".  Shaw writes that, "It is this  internal tension which makes so much of Miss Page's poetry good. Generally for the real poet there are no solutions but only problems.  No  writer can be without a conflict of this sort to energize and motivate p his work".  Sutherland reinforces this idea when he affirms " . . .  the  tension of Miss Page's better poems where there i s never any truce  3 between the opposing attitudes". The definition of "creative tension" in this thesis w i l l center around the literary use of the term by such critics as John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren and Allen Tate.  Prior to Ransom's  book The New Criticism in 1941, Allen Tate in an article "Tension in Poetry" (1938) proposed the word "tension" as a term to be made by "lopp4 ing the prefixes off the logical terms extension and intension" ;  or  more generally that a valuable poem be a synthesis of both concrete and abstract meaning. An expanded definition of "creative tension" as i t is found in P. K. Page's writing emerges as "a pattern of opposed stresses or forces;  a stability maintained through a reconciliation of disparate  impulses".  This "tension" i s directly related to the central vitalizing  force in Page's work, the use of "conflict of oppositesf,';,  Sutherland  pointed out a similarity in attitude to subject and manner of writing between D. H. Lawrence and Page in his study of Page's The Sun and the Moon.-' Then in her exploration of the hypothesis propounded by C. G. Jung of unconscious forces or "archtypes", Maud Bodkin, in reference also to D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow, delineates the term "conflict of opposites". Yet, at the times when the reader finds himself attuned to  Lawrence's method, a new world i s revealed by i t whose distinctive character appears especially in the flow and conflicting play of opposite feelings shown continually within and between the characters—such dramas of attraction and repulsion, negation and reassertion of impulse as Lawrence conveys, indirectly yet so vividly to the senses . . . What i s said here of D. H. Lawrence might well be applied to Miss Page's themes, imagery, her perception of her art, and overtly, her poetic and prose technique in writing. Conflict of opposites in Page's themes can be found in those selections that focus on the dichotomy existing within an individual between the constricting force of self-love or pity, and i t s inversion, the wish for a sharing of feeling, an experiencing of love.  A further  discernment of .polarity can be observed in Page's writings that involve an individual on one hand with a desire for solitude, an isolation of the self from any disruptive external forces, and on the other, with a yearning for a community of feeling, for being part of the multitude, involved and sharing.  Miss Page juxtaposes the forces that inhibit,  restrain or impose constraints on an individual, often a child, with the inherent drive for personal freedom and self-fulfillment.  This positive  motivating drive, or force, is a further refinement of the search for love, innocence and beauty, a search that leads directly away from those pressures that inspire fear, ugliness and horror in a person. The static opposition of the life-giving force with the inert power of death is present in the poems and stories. conflict of opposites. tive forms.  Imagery conveys the  Page's choice of imagery assumes certain distinc  Flower visions strike against metal or stone patterns:  a  'water s e l f , or submerged state i s in contraposition to the 'land' form of individuals: a cave existence or snow blanket opposes the communal l i f e or the green-garden world:  a metaphoric shifting between organic  and inorganic and between animate and inanimate states i s established: black i s superimposed on white; negative on the positive.  white on black;  darkness on l i g h t ;  the  A l l these imagery patterns highlight the  poet's thematic presentation of dichotomy and i n doing so, give her work v i t a l i t y and b u i l d "creative tension". Miss Page's attitude to and perception of her subjects invests i t s e l f with the pattern of c o n f l i c t s of opposites.  She acknowledges the  v i s i o n through her "subjective" and "psychological" eyes and yet her wish, stated i n her self-explanatory a r t i c l e "Questions and Images"'' i s to "remove the f i l t e r s " of s u b j e c t i v i t y and achieve greater objective distance from her a r t .  The c o n f l i c t i n manner between a wish f o r s i m p l i c i t y of  expression and a self-consciousness that drives one to complexity may  be  noted i n various works, as can a tendency towards astringency of style i n some instances and yet, at times, she creates works that exhibit a d i s g t i n c t "clottedness" of image-piling.  "Creative tension" r e s u l t i n g from  the presentation of c o n f l i c t of opposites may again emerge i n a selection when the surface " b r i l l i a n c e " of the piece contrasts sharply with the sombre, s o l i t a r y intense emotion beneath i t . These are various forms that opposition of elements take i n Page's poetry and prose and the t h e s i s w i l l focus on the kernel c o n f l i c t and i t s expansion through theme, imagery,-and the poet's perception of her a r t . The d i f f u s i o n of c o n f l i c t s of opposing elements provides a nexus between the disparate genre.  P. K. Page's f i r s t poems appeared i n Ronald  Hambleton's anthology, Unit of Five i n November 1944,  along with the  poetry of Louis Dudek, Raymond Souster, James Wreford and Hambleton. f i r s t self-contained volume, As Ten As Twenty, was l a t e r i n September 1946  published two  years  and contained poems previously printed i n such  Her  publications as Preview, Poetry (Chicago), and Canadian Forum, along with new selections as yet unpublished.  Eight years l a t e r , i n 1954-, The Metal  and The Flower won f o r Miss Page the Governor General's Prize f o r poetry and the praise of such c r i t i c s as Northrop Frye who f e l t i t the most enjoyable book of poetry he had read i n 195^.^  The twelve years between  the appearance of The Metal and The Flower and a fourth c o l l e c t i o n of printed verse, Cry Araratt, mark the emergence of Page as an a r t i s t with an established reputation i n B r a z i l and Mexico. i t s format Page's poetic and a r t i s t i c t a l e n t s .  Cry Ararat1 combined i n As w e l l as the c o l l e c -  t i o n s , there are many poems t o be found i n magazines such as Saturday Night, and p e r i o d i c a l s l i k e Canadian Poetry Magazine, Contemporary Verse, and Poetry (Chicago). P. K. Page i s not as w e l l known as a writer of short s t o r i e s , yet Preview was the v e h i c l e f o r her publication of t h i s genre, nine of which w i l l be examined with respect t o c o n f l i c t of opposites i n t h i s t h e s i s : The Resignation (194-2); Leisure Class (194-3); Them Ducks (194-5);  The Green B i r d : (194-2);  The Rat Hunt (1943);  Under Cover of Night (194-3);  Weekend-West Coast (1946);  Miracles (1944);  and The Woman (194?).  As  Judith Cape, Page wrote her one novel The Sun and The Moon which was publ i s h e d i n I944 by MacMillan.  A study of the available prose works  evinces the author's presentation of c o n f l i c t of opposites.  Along with  selected poems, these selections form the o r i g i n a l material base f o r a discussion of Miss Page's unique development of "creative tension" through the contrapositioning of forces i n theme, imagery and perception. Some examination of P. K. Page's gradual development as a writer may help t o suggest the origins of such a polarized perception that saw ideas and individuals as being balanced or juxtaposed within the subjective frame-  work of poem or story. Born i n England November 23, 19161 the daughter of a professional s o l d i e r , Major-General L i o n e l F. Page, D.S.O., P a t r i c i a K. Page was to know an early l i f e of frequent changes of location.  At the age of two she  came t o Canada s e t t l i n g f i r s t i n Red Deer, Alberta, and then l a t e r i n Winnipeg and Calgary, where she graduated from Saint Hilda's School f o r Girls,  After t h i s matriculation Miss Page spent one year i n England and  i t was there that her f i r s t poem was published i n the London Observer and she was to gain self-recognition as a new poet. Her prompt return t o Canada l e d her to Halifax where she met Alan Crawley, the editor of the newly emerging Contemporary Verse, whom she acknowledged as the person who helped her most i n her work.^ Halifax, and a b r i e f sojourn i n St. John, N.B.,  After  Miss Page l e f t the Mari-  times and i n 1941 continued her t r a v e l s t o Montreal.  P, K, Page's early  days i n Montreal were f i l l e d with various forms of employment, none d i r e c t l y related t o her career as a writer, but a l l f u l l of experiences and impressions from which she drew f o r i n s p i r a t i o n f o r her poems and stories.  She worked as a salesclerk and as a stenographer;  and at a f i l i n g  job.  on the radio  Later writings were t o i l l u s t r a t e the deep-felt  despair and desperation that accompanied  the monotony of such tasks, and  they were also t o show Page's increasing s e n s i t i v i t y of the inner turmoil masked by the deceptive exterior calm of individuals trapped by society or t h e i r own i n s e c u r i t y i n such humdrum jobs.  Gradually her poems came  to l i g h t i n such publications as Saturday Night, Contemporary Verse and Poetry (Chicago). 1941 marks her f i r s t association with Patrick Anderson and that group of young Montreal writers.who banded together t o print a poetry  magazine, Preview, which they introduced on the Canadian literary scene in 1 9 ^ 2 ,  In his autobiography, Search Me;  the Black Country, Canada  and Spain, Anderson describes the activities of this Preview group when he writes: I helped to found a literary magazine of which she /Peggy, his w i f § 7 became the business manager, despite a l l her other work— my new friends and I on the editorial staff discussed poems pretending not to know to what revolutionary den Peggy whisked the efforts we accepted in order to have them mimeographed. The sheets were stapled in our kitchen and more than once, in an orgy of coffee making, they caught f i r e . Within a few months, professors were talking about us on the radio as the new Montreal group. One day we were told that W, H. Auden had been seen reading our magazine at the British Embassy in Washington.^! Along with Anderson and Page, the editorial staff of this new and v i t a l publication consisted of F. R. Scott, Bruce Ruddick, Neufville Shaw and James Wreford [k late colleague/. Preview II, 1942, contained the f i r s t Canadian publication of poems of P. K. Page and the following issues, u n t i l 1946, were to contain her short stories and new poetry. The year 1944 saw the publication of Page's one novel The Sun and The Moon written under the pseudonym of Judith Cape; her inclusion in Hambleton's anthology, Unit of Five; and her choice as recipient of the Oscar Blumenthal Poetry prize by the Chicago publication Poetry for her selection "Young Girls".  Following such an active year as this she l e f t  Montreal briefly for a t r i p to western Canada. Miss Page spent several months in British Columbia mainly on Vancouver Island where her acquaintance with the v i t a l i t y of l i f e on the west coast provided a new set of experiences for the poet.  The confrontation of new settlers with the  vestiges and remnants of an older British society and the inevitable clash of personalities and attitudes served to enlarge the already present use of conflict of opposites in them, image and perception in her  work. Earlier]^hints in Page's poetry of an awareness of decay and contagion associated with the polarity of new with old and youth with age emerged in such work as Weekend-West Coast, "Round Trip" and "Stories of Snow". Upon her return the following year she accepted a position as script writer with the National Film Board, a novel encounter that undoubtedly affected both the subject and the style of her writing.  Then  in 1946 Page's f i r s t complete volume of poetry was published, As Ten As Twenty. In the meantime Preview had ceased i t s publication after a lengthy period of literary rivalry with John Sutherland's First Statement, a poetry periodical conceived apparently as a counterweight to the English background of many of Preview's editors and contributors.  The  amalgamation of Preview and First Statement under Sutherland's editorship was a shortlived attempt to harness both creative forces at work in Montreal and the editorial board saw such figures as Scott, Klein, Layton, Shaw, Anderson and Smith.  P. K. Page remained with this assoc-  iation as a regional editor only u n t i l 1947, when along with most of the Preview group she resigned in protest over editorial policy.  This assoc-  iation with the new wave of poets in eastern Canada had been a f r u i t f u l one for Page, but with the breakup of the poetry clique she was even freer to pursue her own patterns of style and thought.  Soon after this,  in 1950, Miss Page married her employer, National Film Board director William Arthur Irwin and later embarked on a new series of moves associated with her husband's diplomatic career, f i r s t to Australia, then to Brazil, Mexico and f i n a l l y in the I960*s, back to Canada, The ensuing experiences while on this travel cycle gave poet-artist Page further expanding baroque vistas of the same conflict of opposite forces and  pulls so early evident i n her writing. It was her second major c o l l e c t i o n of verse, The Metal and  The  Flower, that received the Governor General's Award f o r the best i n Canadian poetry published i n 195^ the appearance of her poetry.  and that marked the temporary h a l t i n  Fred Cogswell r e l a t e s , that while i n  A u s t r a l i a , . . she abandoned poetry f o r painting, which was  relaxing t o 1?  her whereas poetry made her tense and set her nerves©on edge. ^ herself comments that she didn't stop writing, Blank page a f t e r blank page. happened at l a s t .  Page  . . I t stopped . . .  The thing that I had feared most of a l l had  This time I never would write again.  But by some  combination of f a c t o r s — c o - i n c i d e n c e , s e r e n d i p i t y — t h e pen that had 13 written was  now,  most s u r p r i s i n g l y , drawing".  B r a z i l followed A u s t r a l i a , and Mexico, B r a z i l . C i t y i n 1962  There i n Mexico  P. K. Irwin held a 'one-man show* of her drawings at the  G a l e r i a d e l Arte, and public reaction was  most favourable to the exotic  and b i z a r r e black-white etchings and v i v i d tempera colours of her animali s t i c and organic a r t .  While she declined any attempts at poetry f o r  publication at t h i s stage, her return to Canada p a r a l l e l s her own that more poetry may be i n the o f f i n g . Cry AraratI s t i l l alive.  Poems New  Certainly the 1967  belief  appearance of  and Selected, suggests that her poetic t a l e n t i s  This then i s the personal background of the poet, a back-  ground that reveals upon study of her work, the development of a pattern of balance and counterbalance, of combination and deliberate disharmony i n theme, imagery and poetic v i s i o n . The presence of " c o n f l i c t of opposites" i n theme, imagery and attitude i s the f o c a l point f o r study.  I n i t i a l l y the thematic contra-  position of the i s o l a t i o n of the s e l f and i t s opposing force, the need  for universality of emotion and for self-awareness w i l l be examined in prose and poetry selections. It was Dr. C. G. Jung who in f i r s t commenting on the psychological significance of petry, described "primordial images" or "archtypes" as "psychic residue of numberless experiences of the same types, experiences which have happened not to the individual but to his ancestors, and of which the results are inhibited in the structure 14 of the brain, a priori determinants of individual experience".  Arche-  typal patterns such as that of the Journey under the sea, Paradise and Hades, the saga of the Moon-Goddess, and the Fatal Woman, are an integrative factor in the development of thematic conflict of opposites and can be observed in Page's writing. An ever-expanding baroque vista, another perspective of the same 'solitude-multitude conflict' comes into focus - the conflict of those forces of restraint on an individual with the opposing struggle of the individual to be free.  Page presents this  opposition i n poems and stories of childhood, of lost innocence and i n works that prick the social consciousness of her readers. The development of the thesis concentrates on thematic and imagi s t i c conflict of opposites symbolized in the dichotomy of flower with stone, of metal with rose, of darkness with light.  The "archtypal"  discord of Paradise with Hades i s in evidence i n selections that reveal such imagistic opposition.  A l l such conflicts relate to the major contra-  position in Page's writing, one in perception on the part of the poet. The subjective view of an individual or an object is set against a desire on the part of the poet for greater poetic objectivity. There i s a realization of the need to ensure that the whole is not distorted by a part.  It i s in P. K. Page's latest volume, Cry Araratt, that the u l t i -  mate representation of conflict of opposites i s presented i n the form of  the archtypal. cycle of Rebirth - the transitional form of such oppositional conflict - "of l i f e in death in l i f e " .  FOOTNOTES - CHAPTER 1  1  John Sutherland, "The Poetry of P. K. Page", Northern Review,  I, (Dec.-Jan. ±9^7), 13.  N e u f v i l l e Shaw, "The Poetry of P. K. Page", Educational Record, (Quebec), LXIV, (July-Sept. 194-8), 15^. 2  ^Sutherland, op. c i t . , ^..H.  p.20.  Abrams, A Glossary of L i t e r a r y Terms, (New York, 1957),  p. 97. ^Sutherland, op. c i t . ,  p.14.  ^Maud Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns i n Poetry, (New York, 1958), p.284. ?P. K. Page, "Questions and Images", Can. L i t . , XLIV, (Summer  1969), 21. Munro Beattie, "Poetry (1935-1950)", L i t e r a r y History of Canada, ed. C. Klinck, (Toronto, 1965), p.770. 8  Canada:  % o r t h r o p Frye, "Review of The Metal and The Floxirer", Letters i n 195^, U.T.Q., XXIV, ( A p r i l , 1955), 251.  ^-^"Along Poet's Row" (anon. biog. note), Canadian Author and Bookman, XXXIV, (Spring 1958), 9. HPatrick Anderson, Search Me: Autobiography — Canada and Spain, (London, 1957), p.149.  The Black Country,  ^Information i n a l e t t e r to Mrs. Carol Jerusalem from Professor Fred Cogswell of the University of New Brunswick, Feb. 20, 1970. age, op. c i t . ,  p.18.  l ^ o d k i n , op. c i t . , p . l .  CHAPTER  CONFLICT  OF  2  SOLITUDE WITH MULTITUDE  Part of the fascination of P. K. Page's writing lies in her acute grasp of a fundamental conflict for a l l individuals in a modern complex society - that of the withdrawal of the self into an isolated, protected state, and of the inherent need or desire of the self to s t i l l be a part of a larger community of feeling and action: multitude.  of solitude with  This thematic conflict i s not unique to Page, but i s present  in the works of many recent Canadian writers such as Leacock, Frye, Frederick Grove, and Irving Layton.  In an address at York University in  December 1969, Layton presented his interpretation of what he f e l t to be a distinctive dichotomy in Canadian l i f e in much the same literary vein as Grove, Frye and Leacock,  Layton saw in Canada a juxtaposition between  two impersonal forces with man and the Canadian poet caught between their menacing power. The land i t s e l f and the power of nature found in such physical entities as the vast reaches of forest and plain and the presence of great snow f a l l s , comprise a huge unthinking physical mass that opposes the force of a complex civilization, highly developed in business, scientific and technological areas,^  Layton's ideas are echoed by Northrop Frye who also writes of a human conflict:  "I have long been impressed i n Canadian poetry not by a  tone of deep terror of the dangers or discomforts or even the mysteries of nature, but a terror of the soul at something that these things manifest.  The human mind has nothing but human and moral values to cling to  i f i t i s to preserve i t s integrity or even i t s sanity, yet the vast unconsciousness of nature in front of i t seems an unanswerable denial of 2 those values".  But P. K. Page, like Layton, sees that the way to harmon-  ize this conflict within the individual lies through the experience of shared feelings of love and association with others, and that by such contact and communication one can achieve greater self-awareness.  R. E.  Rashley notes that Page believes i n the love of humanity not only as a Marxist concept, but also as an escape from the notion of l i f e as sheer 3  horror. Love i s of importance to her poetic subjects; i t gives a sense of community. Love i s of importance to Canadians; i f there i s no L  hand to hold, we may disappear into the whiteness of snow and forest. In Page's poetry and prose, the conflict of solitude with multitude - the theme of separateness* - generally takes three interrelated 1  forms:  the juxtaposition of self-love, or an emotion of pity, with shared  feelings of love;  the inner conflict of an ignorant isolated self with  his need for community and for awareness; the dichotomy between surface appearances of individuals and the reality of their depths of feeling. These conflicts of opposites are not to be found only in Miss Page's themes. The prose and poetry imagery patterns further reinforce the thematic polarities.  Her earliest writing focuses on the stage of  unhappy love or on the despair of isolation.  The results in the selec-  tions of these personal conditions are usually dark periods of loneliness,  neurotic behaviour, madness or retreat into nature, into a 'frozen' state. Recurring imagery centers on eyes, and their revelation of deep inner madness or despondence in individuals.  There is frequently a shifting of  metamorphic quality to the imagery as organic forms blend into inorganic, as inanimate becomes animate and a 'fantastic characteristic emerges 1  that i s related to the themes.  Isolation and solitude are presented  through the use of caves, vaults, mines; in water;  through the image of submersion  and through the symbolic employment of snow and ice, and later,  stone and metal to represent a 'frozen' suspended human existence.  The  beginning of Page's highly developed black-white dichotomy emerges early in her work and this constant interplay of 'non-colour' serves to express a sense of polar extremes in perception and theme. The original conflict of man  and nature i s expanded in P. K.  Page's work into a triangular conflict of nature, society and the individual, with the individual in alliance with nature and in opposition to society.  Northrop Frye, in describing what he f e l t was a "garrison men-  t a l i t y " evident in Canadian l i f e , further delineates the nature of Page's presentation of conflict when he writes:  "Real terror comes when the  individual feels himself becoming an individual pulling away from the group, losing the sense of driving power that the group gives him, axrare of a conflict within himself far subtler than the struggle of morality against evil"."'  Another c r i t i c reinforces this view.  Neufville Shaw  observes Page's recurring presentation of the result of conflict of the individual and his society, commenting that "The alternative to the apparently hopeless task of trying to amalgamate one's cherished values with social reality is to retreat, to become a thing or anything quiet, unresponsive, without demands and undemandable, to become frozen".^  P. K. Page's only novel, The Sun and The Moon, provides a good beginning for study of the conflict of solitude and multitude, portrayed by the opposition of pity and love, and the immanence of uniquitous nature which can provide sanctuary from dejection in the way that Frye and Shaw described.  From the opening line of the book Miss Page injects  a high drama of mystery and magic into her story of a romantic heroine, Kirsten, a "schizophrenic" character who suffers from an unnamed c l i n i c a l form of "empathy": The world throbbed to the excitement of a lunar eclipse. Astronomers and their bastard brothers, the astrologers, worked busily charting the heavens, linked at this moment by a mutual concern for the moon. In a hospital, a pale pile of yellow brick on the top of a h i l l , which strove to touch the sky with i t s longest finger of stone, doctors, nurses and a young mother worked to bring a g i r l - c h i l d into the world. An astrological link with the l i f e of an individual is established at the start, and from such an auspicious birth Kirsten identifies closely with the moon and comes directly under i t s influence. She senses the 'seesaw' of meaning between the association of moon and sun when she explains to her lover, Carl, that, "'It's more as i f you're the sun and I the moon. You the strong v i t a l element and I but a pale thin light—and yet in spite of the difference in quality you are able to eclipse me and . , .' she stopped. her answer.  'And you able to eclipse me?'  He waited a long time for  'Yes, she said at length, 'Yes'." 1  At times in the story Kirsten expresses her dislike for her environment, her distaste with the pettiness of class structure, and her desires to escape from the organized existence within the community of society.  This escape seems embodied in marriage to the young artist.  But the central picture of alternate victories and defeats within the  s e l f present a contrasting view of Kirsten as f l e s h retreating into and becoming one with the forms of nature.  As a c h i l d playing on a beach  she f i r s t experiences such a supernatural empathetic change: She gazed up at the rocks and climbed c a r e f u l l y t o a ledge of stone and flung herse'lf down on her stomach , , . Lying there unmoving, Kirsten f e l t something . . . A change came over her. Slowly she s t i f f e n e d and became hard and s t i l l knowing nothing but the sun beating on her back . , . Then suddenly there was movement . . , But she knew without hearing, f o r her ears were stone; she knew only as a rock can know, by the vibrations of sound s t r i k i n g an inanimate thing. Then, as gradually as she had s t i f f e n e d from f l e s h to stone she melted from stone t o f l e s h and heard then as a person hears and knew as a person knows, that her mother and father were standing over her,-"worried . . . "She's got a touch of the sun". This sublimation of the human physical state into an inanimate form, an unfeeling s o l i t a r y condition, reinforces Page's presentation of the clash between c o n f l i c t s of opposites i n her novel.  To be a rock i s t o  completely negate a l l human c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and t o escape from the community of man and t h i s her heroine i s able t o do. Why such a transformation occurs i s unclear. John Sutherland i n h i s review of the novel, believes that i t could be interpreted as a " t a l e of Lawrentian romanticism contaminated 7  by s e l f - l o v e " . '  Kirsten, as the moon-figure, the archtype of the F a t a l  Woman, remains i n d i f f e r e n t t o the approaches of the male sun, a weak r e f l e c t i o n of her own power, as she, h e r s e l f , i s the v i c t i m of "unreciprocated love".  C a r l , the sun, i s attracted by the moon-pull, by her  deep indifference t o a love of equals.  While watching the white figure  of Kirsten moving through the darkness of a lunar eclipse night, he muses that "'I am i n love with a moon-child . , , She w i l l never be mine, never'.  And as he started a f t e r her he was f i l l e d with the same f a s c i -  nation, the same melancholy he f e l t when swimming at night, following  the path of the moon". Carl, the "Sun" of the t i t l e , echoes the words of the agonized Othello who lamented that: It is the very error of the moon. She comes more near the earth than she was wont And makes men  mad.  Kirsten embodies the allure and repulsion of the earliest moondeity, Ishtar, creator of people, "the f r u i t f u l mother who knows lamentQ ation !. 1  This mythical figure holds within herself the representation  of magic power that controls women's actions and distorts men's passions. Many writers have adapted the myth in their work.  One, Hannah Green in  her recent novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden presents a somewhat similar figure, Idat, a goddess in the dream world of the emotionally disturbed heroine Debbie.  The parallel in atmosphere between Page and  Green in their two works is a strong one with respect to such a goddess of celestial powers. In I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Green writes: At a certain time Idat, the Dissembler, came to her in the shape of a woman. Idat was always veiled when she came so, but she was beautiful and never came without reminding her queen and victim of her beauty... Suffer, Idat, why do you flow White? Shroud and wedding gown, Idat said. Two gowns that are the same gown. Beholdt Should you not dying, l i v e ; and living, die; surrender, fighting; and fighting, surrender? My road w i l l give a l l opposites at the same time, and the same means for the opposite ends. I know you from the v e i l outward, Idat, Deborah answered. I mean that men set backfires, one to kindle yet quench the other. Is i t applicable also to stone? With my help, Idat said, Kirsten, like the victims of Ishtar and Idat, dissolves into nature.  On  the eve of her wedding she becomes a tree withstanding the lashing of a storm,  "No worry could touch her.  The problem was solved though the  answer was s t i l l not in her possession".  The novel's epilogue shows  Kirsten r e t i r e d into r o c k - l i k e s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y , immovable and to Carl and her surroundings. power as an a r t i s t and  She  as a man.  has  assimilated a l l his  Solitude has  indifferent  potential  predominated over multi-  tude i n the c o n f l i c t of opposites. Leonara Speyer's poem '•Kleptomaniac" quoted i n Page's novel reinforces  t h i s triumph of the moon force: She stole his eyes because they shone Stole the good things they looked upon; She stole his strength so f i e r c e and true, Perhaps f o r something brave to do, Wept at his weakness, stole that too. As she forgave she snatched his soul; She did not want i t , but she s t o l e .  Only by a complete break with Kirsten can C a r l hope to survive t h i s l e t h a l osmosis, and her assimilation  so he leaves Kirsten to her i s o l a t i o n protected by  into nature, untouched by human emotions, a 'moon r i d i n g  out a storm f a r above the earthyi  In t h i s novel the author has  p i t y , s e l f - l o v e and the obsession of the i n d i v i d u a l f o r  equated  solitude,  counter-balancing a l l these against the more desirable state of commun i t y , multitude and  shared f e e l i n g .  She did not confine such a c o n f l i c t  of opposites just to her prose e f f o r t s however. The  contrast of p i t y and love p a r a l l e l s the c o n f l i c t of i s o l -  ation and u n i v e r s a l i t y i n Page's poetry.  In " P o r t r a i t " , l a t e r e n t i t l e d  "Paranoid", the retreat of the s e l f into a state of s e l f - l o v e progresses i n stages.  Natural images show a progression - from sun and flowers of  childhood where "his mother was  a l o v e — a warm projection  of him  like a  second h e a r t — t o the darkness of a tomb", the stained-glass chapel of his body. the sun,  The  i n d i v i d u a l i n t h i s poem evolves from being a v i t a l body,  into a dead planet, a moon spinning f a r out i n vast cold space.  Page has her subject "cast the world out" because he "loved himself too much". The idea in the line, "Each year he grew more holy/and more wholly himself" i s repeated in altered form in "Elegy", a poem f i l l e d with beautiful images, dedicated to a dead individual who chose to retreat "When that black haemorrhage began", into self-isolation and thereby cut a l l ties of shared humanity.  The speaker addresses a person  once "white and scarlet" who 'Jwalked giddy with gold", but who is now "shut up . . . with the night".  A spring that " i s a l l small horses and  stars" provides startling contrast with a self turned to coal, black under a deadly nightshade.  The tension in the poem that results from  this juxtaposition emerges in theme and imagery. Again, like the enigmatic Kirsten, the individual in "Elegy" retreats into an isolated mineral form devoid of emotion and awareness. As with much of Page's early work, the solitary state predominates and subjugates the communal for the individual who i s at cross-currents in this inner conflict. To further illustrate this tendency in her work, "Foreigner", written in 1944, reveals P.KK.  Page as both spectator and subject when  she depicts an individual isolated from the rest of society by his inability or fear to communicate. prevalent:  Images of silence and isolation are  "strange walls", "sheltered from eyes", "shady clouds of  fear", "suddenly dropped blinds", "wearing blinkers". The poem incorporates a Freudian interpretation of the premise that an  accumulation  of past incidents may make one afraid to trust others or to commit oneself to any action. This "Foreigner" can not, or w i l l not, see his human relationship with others: w i l l not look".  "A room w i l l hold you a smile/but you  He has lost any individuality, he cowers alone to "cry  for love/in the leaning tower of self".  He i s not unlike " . . .  you, the  person you c a l l it  Were Y o u " -  and p l a c e gone".  ' I',/the  one y o u l o v e d  and worked f o r " ,  of t h e  a p e r s o n d i s o r i e n t e d and c o n f u s e d b y h i s  in society  with  The q u e s t i o n  " . . .  Page a s k s  you do i n such a s i t u a t i o n ? " live  a meaningless  your  own w r i s t s " ,  isolated  the as  b r o a d avenue  observer  o r as  Would you r e t r e a t existence  or "perhaps  go  loss  erased, subject  into the  "mechanically  While  is  problems, robots; of  it of  is,  may b e  less  and involvement  O n l y i n one e a r l y Page s u g g e s t t h a t  Deep i n t h e secret is  the  landmarks  green  garden,  occupied', ,  "slash  1  such i s o l a t i o n  it  only too  the  world of  desirable with  "idiots  than the  into  clearly. a n d human  and dogs"  and  more t u m u l t u o u s  state  others.  an i s o l a t e d  (1942),  retarded  does  state  is  preferred:  and b i t t e r  d a r k woods,  carrion",  can be found  It  as  heart  of  contrasts brutality  a place  isolation,  with of  A foot  "the  beneath  light;  "unsweet  trillium".  the  fear  as  exists  t e r r o r and h o r r o r with hope;  the  with  Miss  When t h e f a c e g r o w s c h e e s e - p a l e d e c e p t i o n o f t h e mood, h e a r t , remember t h e w o o d .  precariously alive  Dark  of  poem "Remember t h e Wood"  a retreat  identity  "What w o u l d  from F o r t u n e ' s u n t i m e l y blows  nevertheless,  "ignorance",  awareness  safe  "If  mad":  horrifying results  such a s t a t e  of  the  grow p h o b i a s about c a l e n d a r s and c l o c k s , s t a r e a t y o u r f a c e i n t h e m i r r o r , n o t knowing and f e e l an i d e n t i t y w i t h i d i o t s and dogs as a l l t h e e x q u i s i t e unborns o f y o u r dreams d e s e r t e d you t o s n i g g e r b e h i n d t h e i r hands? Page s e e s t h e s e  poem  the  if  of the  fragility  hope outer of  or  the love  world.  love  with  indifference: could crash the  s t a m p on t h e  Star  midnight  of Behtlehem,  skies: S o when t h e  p a l e and b i t t e r w i t h t h e d e c e p t i o n o f t h e mood a n d m i n d d r a w s down t h e l a s t d a r k s h u t t e r t h e wood.  face  heart,  grows  remember  The poem i s unique in that the withdrawn solitary image i s more appealing to Page's individual than the v i t a l picture of the community of men. Multitude i s imagined as deceptive and ominous and the poet creates the impression of retreat as being safe for the nurturing of fragile love. The indication i s s t i l l there however, as i t i s in most of Page's work, that solitary love is self-love and creative tension is established by the conflicting images as the individual must decide which path to follow - into the wood or into the world. Two poems, "The Condemned (For L.O.)" and "Summer Resort", both written in the mid-forties portray this search for shared love. Page captures the studied leisure of resort vacationists who "change colours like chameleons and seem/indolent and somehow f l a t and sad".  Such sur-  face calm inadequately camoflages a deep and desperate search for i l l u s ive love. They, Dread the return which magnifies the want wind in high places soaring round the heart and carried like a starfish in a pail through dunes and fields and lonely mountain paths. If by luck these postcard people find a love, i t i s "worn like a badge" to help overcome the fear of being alone and unloved.  Loving i s a  frantic spinning sensation that P. K. Page somehow finds sad and not fulfilling. In "The Condemned" there is an expansion of this image to show love as a releasing force that enables two people to escape the confines of an imprisoned solitary existence.  Its "forbidden message" i s heard  despite the restrictions of the "wide-eared warden". In three memorable stanzas the poet describes the beauty of the experience of love in a description much more sympathetically viewed than that in "Summer Resort":  And as i f their fingers, groped and came together i t was so suddenly tender in that prison birds might have sung from water—just as i f two mouths meeting and meeting had become each other. Later the whole hand grasped and the ultimate escape plunged through velvet to an earth so s t i f f their football left no mark though their feet felt sharp, resuming use and shape. Their lungs, in a l l that a i r , f i l l e d like balloons, pastel and luminous against the dark: No angels could have had more grace in a children's heaven f u l l of clouds and moons. There i s a multitude of two in conflict with the prison of solitary confinement.  The lovers are at f i r s t submerged in a watery state of self-  love, and unawareness; but their sharing of emotion provides the impetus for upward thrust through the velvet darkness into the outer world of air and light.  Love, the intermingling of two selves, invests them with  ethereal beauty and grace,  "But light destroyed their splendor".  Whether i t is the reality of human existence, or the shock at emerging from self-isolation, or the bursting of an imaginative bubble world, this form of love can- not yet survive.  Page i s s t i l l in the formative stage  of her perception of the bond of shared love and i t i s only in her later writing that the conflict of solitude with multitude evolves sufficiently to show the strengths of the communal state when in opposition to the protective solitude of self-love. The love of self exerts tremendous pull on an individual as another poem, "Romantic" shows. Here Page's individual "heavy for love" is unable to find such happiness.  He searches in the wrong places in  the Ueity of wood". And, disillusioned, returns to settle for the securi t y of the familiar isolation of self. for love.  Yet he never loses the desire  His journey and search prove f u t i l e , frustrating and u l t i -  mately unsuccessful:  And the hob-nailed heart yearning— over and over, journeying, returning, u n t i l in eyes that loved him, saw himself minute, distorted, double. Loneliness and paranoia are the lot of such an individual who continues in the early pattern of Kirsten, the "Foreigner" and the summer vacationists - a l l caught in the trap of self-pity and self-love and unable to pull themselves into an alignment with other individuals.  These are the  •dark figures in Page's presentation of the conflict of solitude and 1  multitude. The dichotomy of love and pity, however, i s only one facet of P. K. Page's conflict of the opposites solitude and multitude.  Many of  her poems center on a conflict of ignorance of self with self-awareness, and these poems generally present individuals, almost 'types' vulnerable to the pressures of a society they never created, struggling to attain a feeling of community with other and in doing so gain a greater knowledge of their own uniqueness and purpose. fulfillment;  Not a l l Page's 'cases' reach self-  some are ignorant of the need for such effort, others are  confused or incapable of initiating the search. In an analytic interpretation of D. H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent, Maud Bodkin coins a phrase "half-created men" which i s an apt description of Page's trapped individuals.  Miss Bodkin writes that:  The Mexicans, as Lawrence presents them in this tale, illustrate abundantly the resistance of the earthly, fleshy, thing, the "half-created being", against the f u l l e r l i f e that i s beyond i t . The Mexicans are "a people incomplete", tortured by the "fathomless resentment . . . of men who have never been able to win a soul for themselves . . . an individual integrity out of the chaos of passions and potencies and death. They are caught i n the t o i l s of old lusts and old activities as in the folds of a black serpent". The imaginative adventure of the tale i s the attempt to show how "half-created" men might be helped to awaken the serpent power within themselves, to unite i t with the bird, the eagle-power of the heaven and vision, and thus find true self-hood,9  True self-hood i s the desired destination of Page's subjects, but how to  10 escape "the room with, invisible walls"?  For " . . . there would be  walls of air, invisible, holding/you single and directionless in space" /J'lf It Were You'^  S ome do not go far beyond this prison.  In "Round Trip" a passenger " . . . white/and posed as the sculptured gull in flight" embarks on a journey of passage in the hope of learning a l l he casnabout the world and himself: A lifetime l i e s behind him he has l e f t the tightly frozen rivers of his blood the plateaux of his boredom and the bare buttonholes his pallid eyes had cut. A faintly overrealistic dream sequence unfolds in the poetic presentation of the train t r i p . traveller;  Appearance and illusion become confused to the  the past and the unknown crox^ his vision. Such lines as: In such sweet rain his ears and armpits grew flowers and humming birds were part of him— hanging jewels upon lapel and hat.  embellish the hallucinogenic tone of the poem. The dream world i s more appealing than the parched vision of reality. However, even reality i s obscured by the mists of subjective perception; "far and near are now identical—/colourless,  shapeless,—echoing ghosts of snow". Too late,  the train stops at his Home Town. The deception of a forward drive towards new truth i s complete;  the traveller's dream betrayed, "Forever,  everywhere, for him, the same... 1 1  Like the traveller, "The Permanent Tourists" in another poem by Page are blind to their own realities. devoid of great depths of feeling.  They are the I'photograph",  They skim the surface of experience,  "the terrible tourists with their empty eyes/longing to be f i l l e d with monuments". The need for a deep drink from the Pirean spring i s there,  but they are incapable of i t .  Yet the poet senses the desire within  these people to know and to feel the past. While passive and placid i n contrast to the ruined v i t a l i t y in the ancient columns, these people exhibit a beauty that the poet captures; they are "classic in their anxiety".  Imagery and theme create the tension through the clash of  diametrical opposites. Even "The Landlady", a caricature in curiosity, i s not entirely unsympathetically presented by Page as a lonely isolated individual without a l i f e of her own, living vicariously through the experience of her boarders.  She sees a l l and knows a l l , yet can't get outside herself.  The craving desire for personal contact i s there, but incapacitated. She i s another of the "half-created" men of Lawrence's writing, a modification of the dark individuals in Page's poetry and prose, "Snapshot" reveals the empty shell of a person who exists as a "shadow" of her reality - an image of the actual - as Plato described the shadow on the cave wall.  Trapped by a covetous society, the woman  is but a token self, existing only in relation to the demands of others, "caught like a bent pin". This selection of poems show Page's perceptive interest in a multitude of types of people.  One group of individuals however, to  whom she devoted special observation were those girls involved in the same occupation as she herself had once been - the stenographers. Page identified with their plight of isolation. with the authority of the genuine: 0 believe me, I have knotm o f f i c e s — Young and old in them both— Morning and evening: f e l t the a i r Stamp faces into a mould;  Miss  In "Offices" she writes  Trapped by the t r i v i a l i t y of o f f i c e routine, the g i r l s become i n s u l a r i n t h e i r outlooks, "  f  . . never once question the future, look ahead/beyond  payday or ask the ' i f ' that makes them angular".  Developing i n the  f i n a l stanza a conceit of g i r l s with b i r d s , P. K, Page emphasizes the harshness of young l i v e s eroded by t h e i r uncongenial environment. The following year, 1944, Page published a poem c l o s e l y related to  " O f f i c e s " , "The I n a r t i c u l a t e " ,  Again, the poet presents her steno-  graphers as "misers of words" incapable of communicating t h e i r feelings or desires, grown dumb as a r e s u l t of the r e s t r i c t i v e i n h i b i t i n g nature of t h e i r jobs.  This poem vibrates with sound images:  "screaming eyes",  "sirens blowing i n t h e i r necks", "hammer a l l day at keys", "fingers creak" - yet these are but "sounds of silence* : People t a l k i n g without speaking, people hearing without l i s t e n i n g People writing songs that voices never shared, no one dared Disturb the sound of s i l e n c e . The i n a r t i c u l a t e o f f i c e workers are the epitome of s e l f - i s o l a t i o n within a modern s o c i a l structure.  Page shows them as unable t o bridge the  communication gap between themselves and l i f e around them.  Surface calm  masks t h e i r inner d e b i l i t y f o r they are l o s t souls i n the lonely crowd. The culmination of Miss Page's interest i n the problems of such a group as these g i r l s can be seen i n her well-known poem "The Stenographers" which f i r s t appeared i n 1942 i n Canadian Forum.  This poem  contains within i t a l l the divergent aspects of the c o n f l i c t of opposites involved with the theme of separateness, as w e l l as the basic image patterns that reinforce the opposition, and a more d e t a i l e d study of t h i s poem w i l l help t o reveal these,  "The Stenographers" by P. K. Page  i s an i n s i g h t f u l glimpse of the complete day i n the l i f e of an o f f i c e  typist.  The point of view is Page's as sensitive observer. A peculiar  virtue of this poem arises from the intimacy with which the poet invites her readers to share improvisational insights and original constructs. She has to discover things and their uniquitous unexpected connections for herself.  Only after that can she point them out as she does in "The  Stenographers". "Perspective", or meaning in a poem, as Archibald MacLeish emphasized in his c r i t i c a l work Poetry and Experience, is like the unfolding of a baroque vista, one panoramic view opening into a greater connotative image, yet the parts constantly being viewed as a totality  12 through their relationship to one another.  This is Page's evolving  poetic technique - through intuitive understanding of her subjects, she creates a portrayal of a universal modern dilemma, the inability of a person to shape his own sense of identity, to become aware of his potential for living, to 'crack' the frozen environment of his mind and of his mechanical l i f e routine.  The typists in this poem are shown as  leading pathetic existences, almost T. S. Eliot's "lives of quiet desperation".  This is the 'actuality' for them, yet Page establishes  the dichotomy of the 'possible' of the awareness that could be their's i f only. Employing techniques which have become ingrown since the Imagist movement in poetry - a reliance on the image not just as sign, but as metaphor and symbol;  of interlinking sounds and pauses and junctures to  set the pace of the poem and to guide in entering the mental process the poet in the line, "Their climates are winter and summer", focuses on the relationship between the actual and the possible in the lives of her human subjects.  One can appreciate the metaphor of the winter climate. This i s a dominant image in the poem, the season of dormancy, of cold and snow and ice and absence of the l i f e force, a l l these connotations i f "winter" is viewed as a 'sign . 1  Yet P. K. Page carries the metaphor further  emphasizing the frozen state of the girls* lives. smothered under "the snow storm of paper":  They are buried,  they are lost in the arctic  'Hell' of their jobs, a Dantean Hell complete with frenzied hound. In stanza four, the voice of authority, of the boss dictating compells them across this wasteland of snow, . . , draws their pencil like a sled across snow; when i t s runners are frozen rope snaps and the voice then i s pulling no burden but runs like a dog on the winter of paper. The feelings of emptiness, of arctic expanse of whitenss, of zero temperature, of want of human l i f e , of the unmarked "nothingness" of a "winter of paper" - a l l are contained in this stanza. This i s the explicit image that provides a relationship with the metaphor of the winter climate. Page suggests, as well, a more subtle implicit winter image ice.  Briefly the typists recall "the smooth hours when they were c h i l -  dren—/the ride in the ice-cart, the ice-man's name". Reminiscent of the situation in Gibson's poem "The Ice-Cart", the connotation of 'ice' as the frozen state of activity, an escape from the heat of the active real world, brings fuller meaning to Page's presentation of the 'actuality' of the frozen 'iced' human potential within the office workers.  To  become self-aware, they, or some external force, must 'crack' the ice. Page does suggest some 'ice-breaking possibilities. 1  To further develop  thewrelationship of winter and the 'actuality' of the stenographers' lives, the symbol of the sea enters the poem, floating in through assoc-  iation with ice i n the dreams of childhood. As MacLeish in Poetry and Experience points out, mere intent w i l l not produce a symbol even when the intent i s in the mind of an excellent 13 poet. ^  Symbols are not invented at w i l l .  In much of literary tradition,  the sea and the ocean, water, imply a relationship of meaning with the place where l i f e originated, with flowing movement, with power, force, destruction, and with chaos. In "The Stenographers" a l l of these relationships are recalled by the remembrance of the "sea where floats at high tide/were sea marrows growing on the scatter-green vine". Yet Page infuses a wider sense of meaning through the introduction of her sea symbol.  The sea,  like the winter climate, i s a state of submerged awareness;  of beauty,  but also of dormancy, and this 'meaning' reinforces again the trapped lives these girls l i v e .  Even in their nostalgic remembrances they sink  back into the essentially unaware, non-creative lulled state of childhood, of the-'.protective primordial sea-world.  Miss Page i s effective as  a poet in this stanza in creating a poetic view of a world of childlike imagination where sea floats appear "like sea marrows" on the vine, or "spools of gray toffee, or wasps' nests on water" - on f i r s t reading, a beautiful scene, but on closer observation a metaphor of rather unlovely images, "gray" toffee, not golden brown, and "wasps'" nests. Once more Page presents in stanza seven the ocean symbol. Even the choice of 'ocean' and not 'sea' seems suggestive of a more impersonal force.  The g i r l s ' "beds are their oceans".  The security,othe  protection of the bed, the refuge after the hard office routine, recall the idea of the ocean as the womb of a l l l i f e .  This phrase seems to  echo, perhaps obliquely, the line from Thomas Gray's "Elegy", "Full many  a gem of purest ray serene/The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear".  To  let one's metaphorical imagination roam, the stenographers in the refuge of their ocean beds at night are like undiscovered sea pearls whose f u l l value, or in this case, human potential, can only be seen when they are brought up above the ocean's surface into the light. To further extend the metaphorical relationship now in terms of •sea l i f e , the typists are in the 'tadpole* stage of awareness of self. 1  And the paradox that Page strikes so vividly is that, rather than struggling to surmount the waves and emerge into the 'possible* world, they are "fighting to drown". A paradox surprises, i t does not move. Yet this line moves. It i s the combination of the unexpectedness and the Tightness of the paradox that gives i t v i t a l i t y .  The girls do not  wish to act, for to act i s to be aware, never to forget, and this i s a painful, though exhilarating, task.  They are of their own volition, or  so Page intimates, drowning into the oblivion of the sea rather than attempting their own rescue from a watery grave. This then is the 'actuality' of their 'winter* existence. P. K. Page in her understanding does not neglect to suggest that there is another possibility for a fuller richer l i f e for these individuals - that there could be a * summer' climate. summer only the 'possibility'.  Winter i s the 'actuality' of l i f e ,  The summer i s always present, but i t i s  hidden just as a seed deep in the earth is hidden beneath the frost and snow of winter.  The natural forces associated with winter, snow, ice  and cold, prohibit germination of the seed's potential v i t a l i t y .  It  requires that the seed be nourished by summer's natural forces, a i r , sunlight and gentle rain, i f i t is to come into 'awareness*. In the opening line of the poem, "After the brief bivouac of  Sunday", one sees the f i r s t indication of any hope for these prisoners of a mechanistic environment. Did this one respite, this Sunday, provide any impetus for revolt against the regime of the office?  On this day  was there a brief battle of w i l l , a battle that resulted however in a surrender to the enemy on Monday - "their eyes, in the forced march of Monday to Saturday,/hoist the white flag . . ."? It is not until stanza five that another summer image appears, the wind.  In much the same vein as Coleridge i n "The Ancient Mariner",  Page i n possessing the tendency to find in natural objects an expression of the inner l i f e , feels in wind and i n stagnant "terrible calm" symbols of the contrasted states of ecstasy and of dull inertia, of awareness and unawareness, of possibility and actuality. In the poem there is "no wind for the kites of their hearts", there is no wildly impulsive l i f e force to allow them to soar in childlike flight above their mundane daily existence, "Only a breeze".  The  poet through the coupling of images establishes a metaphorical relationship between the breeze, a weak form of wind, and the boyfriends of the stenographers.  Perhaps these "boyfriends of blood" could melt the  frozen world and release the human potential of the g i r l s .  The blood  image, violent and startling in a poem void of strong colour - a poem of ice-white, of sea-green, of gray - suggests a chance, a force of warmth; i f only physical sex, i t is better than no attachment at a l l . But the total metaphorical image points up the callousness of the 'love relationship. The girls are like the "leaves of the country", 1  they are "tumbled" sexually by the physical force of love, only scattered by this breeze and l e f t as "rubbish".  The passion is not a natural force  of summer that results i n regenerative change.  It is lacking true power  as i t lacks true emotion. Stanza six may be viewed as a third chance for escape into a 'summertime' world through satisfying relationships with others, with friends through verbal intercourse and dialogue. Sundays, coffee breaks, lunch hours, after work time, are usually f e l t to be moments of release from either the pressures or the monotony of modern work. Page again employs a paradox to show a seeming contradiction on the part of her subjects.  They are incapable of any meaningful communication with  others, with any attempt to f i l l the emptiness of their lives. noon hour;  they are out for lunch;  contentment.  It i s  i t should be a moment for fun and  Yet, "In the inch of the noon as they move they are stag-  nant'. /The terrible calm of the noon i s their anguish". 1  This i s Page's  uncanny way of relating the unrelated; of twisting the expected response. The girls have such a brief moment to "make hay while the sun shines"!  Just an "inch" as the sun moves slowly, and the world i s  bathed completely in real light and not in illusionary shadow. Yet like the Mariner's "painted ship uipon a painted ocean", they are becalmed. The juxtaposition of "terrible" with "calm" reinforces the inner anguish of these g i r l s .  Leisure time presents a problem to them in how to f i l l  it. Page's sensuous images abound, and in stanza six these lines are most effective;  "The l i p of the counter, the shapes of the straws/like  icicles breaking their tongues are invaders". The senses of sight, hearing, taste and touch are aroused.  The hunger for some communication  is compared to b r i t t l e icicle-tongues breaking the calm of noon 5  incon-  gruous, yet sensuous. Finally a last glimmer of the 'summer of the possible' appears  in the quiet of the bedroom, in that moment of semi-awareness between wakefulness and sleep when the individual is alone unto himself. girls weep. Their salt tears are "the tide before sleep".  The  Here, i f  ever, perhaps they might be able to save themselves, to melt their frozen shells.  Yet they refuse:  "they are fighting to drown". Not counting  blessings they assemble sheep in linear columns, possibly reflecting the linear dimensions of their lives, and "watch them leap desks for their fences".  The last breath of summer, the last ray of sunlight is gone in  the poem. As the line "Their climates are winter and summer" provides an insight into the relationship of images in the poem, so also does the line "/they7 stare at them with their mirror-worn faces".  Page opens  and closes her poem focusing on the eyes of the stenographers. eyes that stare are outward-looking only.  These  They, like the Janus figure  of mythology, see but a mirrored reflection of themselves, a shadow on the cave wall that Plato spoke of, a 'carbon copy' of the ' f i r s t draft'. They are not the eyes of a Buddha that seek the inner self. The f i n a l metaphorical image of the eye i s a most provocative one.  In a sense i t is a modern metaphysical image, a twentieth  century  Donne eye image. The eye, with i t s connotations of light, knowledge, double vision, reflection of inner awareness, and source of perception, is shown as a reflector of the inner fever of the anguished g i r l s .  The  marathon race of the pin men, i s analogous to the Oriental image of the serpent chasing his t a i l and to the laboratory white rat on an exercise wheel, an endless futile race to madness: In their eyes I have seen the pin men of madness in the marathon trim race round the track of the stadium pupil.  The stenographers are trapped within themselves and within their jobs.  The army imagery of the opening stanza reveals that they are  prisoners in this office chain gang.  The natural forces of snow, ice,  cold - forces beyond man's control - reflect the mechanistic impersonal business world, as in the fourth stanza.  The b e l l and the voice, sym-  bols of impersonal authority, impose restrictions on the typists' lives. Even the sheep are in columns.  The girls themselves are "sufficiently  starched, insert papers, hit keys,/efficient and sure as their adding machines".  The "keys" when coupled with "vault" and taut net curtains  stretched on frames, give added meaning to the idea of the typists as prisoners in a tomb of mechanical work, going mad within and yet presenting an illusion of calm normalcy and efficiency.  One question  posed implicitly is 'Of whose making is this prison, society's or the stenographers'?'  P. K. Page does not supply an answer.  To briefly comment on the prosody of the poem i t i s not d i f f i cult to notice Page's delight in word sounds:  "crack", "flutter",  "snaps", "icicles breaking", "taut", and "stretched", are representative of the abundance of onomatopeoic diction.  To highlight her sensitive  free verse, the poet weaves alliteration and assonance into the lines. She introduces texture to the poem through the choice of such words as "toffee", "salt", " f e l t of the morning", "calico-minded" and "starched". In stanza four a stacatto effect i s produced by the rapid-fire succession of monosyllabic words emphasizing the brisk, efficient structured business world.  "Bell rings and they go and the voice draws their  pencil/like a sled across snow". "The Stenographers" can bear much observation.  The acuteness of  the poem lies in Page's perception 'just beyond the senses', as the  emotional portrayal of such lives i s not just a glimpse of the tension, but  a tragic view of 'frozen' human beings. These trapped individuals  are unable to bridge the chasm between solitude and multitude. In quite a different poem, "Photograph", Miss Page again presents a view of individuals within shells of self, submerged under water and b l i s s f u l l y ignorant of the energy and substance of l i f e above the surface of the sea. Submersion is not death, but "merely a l i t t l e muted". The photograph image emphasizes the contrast between the actuality and i t s captured f l a t reproduction; substance and its negative form.  between the positive  The two people in the poem are called  "lovers", yet they l i e "apart and s t i f f " , their language of love i s garbled and distorted by their watery oasis. the picture i s described as a "pretense".  The i d y l l i c love scene in  Contrast i s heightened in the  last stanza by the lines: While overhead the swimmers level waves shrinking the distance between continents and closer inland from the broken weirs the fishermen are hauling giant nets. Those below are ignorant of the action of those above the surface who are making progress towards greater communication between people. Some are  'surfacing' to self-awareness,  formed.  A community of feeling i s being  Water-land imagery accentuates this portrayal of the conflict  of solitude and multitude and a new note of hope i s sounded i f only for select individuals.  These are a new breed capable of adapting from an  aquatic, or solitary form, to a terrestrial, or communal, existence, P. K. Page has touched on this human search for truth and beauty and self-fulfillment in much of her work. The approach to the theme varies as does the supporting imagery.  In a l l the writing a basic con-  f l i c t of opposites i s to be found. Generally this opposition involves  the antipodal conditions of solitude and multitude.  There i s one poem  that goes beyond the basic dichotomy discussed here to show the confront a t i o n of an i n d i v i d u a l bent on finding t r u t h , with a h y p o c r i t i c a l society that crushes h i s quest and causes him to retreat again into a s h e l l of h i s former s e l f . "Cullen" appeared i n Unit of Five i n 1944. by Miss Page's c r i t i c s as a "novelette";  I t has been described  by John Sutherland as ". . .  14 the measure of the difference between the old poetry and the  new".  Sutherland goes on to write that, The same s e n s i b i l i t y which conceived the heroine of Sun and Moon i s s t i l l at work i n these new poems, where i n 'welters of narcissus', the body i s always confused with inanimate existence and the one i s serving as the mirror of the other. The s e n s i b i l i t y s t i l l depends on the struggle of the s e l f for power over i t s surroundings, leading to alternate v i c t o r i e s and defeats and never reaching a f i n a l conclusion. But now the meaningless struggle with nature, described i n Sun and Moon, i s grasped as the r e a l opposition of the s e l f to society and as the fear of the s e l f which produces i t . *5 Prevalent i n much of the work of post war writers i s the thematic quest f o r s e l f i d e n t i t y .  Two close p a r a l l e l s with Page's "Cullen" can  be observed i n Lawrence F e r l i n g h e t t i ' s "Christ Climbed Down" and i n Joseph Heller's novel Catch 22.  A central male figure i n a l l three works  journeys i n t o the world i n search of t r u t h , peace, beauty and self-hood, only to be continually confronted with the harshness hypocrisy of men.  of r e a l i t y and the  The communal l i f e loses i t s appealing facade and i s  exposed as sordid and hollow i n comparison with the security and peace of the "personal shade". wartime I t a l y .  Heller's Yossarin stumbles through the murk of  F e r l i n g h e t t i ' s "Christ" crosses . . . the desert to Bethlehem Pennsylvania in a Volkswagon sled dratm by r o l l i c k i n g Adirondack  deer  with German names and bearing sacks of Humble Gifts only to run away to where "no Bing Crosby caroilers/groaned of a tight Christmas".  Page's Cullen encounters similar experiences.  After much  wandering in the city of men, Cullen rejects i t s sordidness for the countryside, "Decided country, which he had never seen was carillon greeness lying behind the eyes/and ringing the soft warm flesh behind the knees".  This image of an area of beauty and truth "behind the eye"  is unique to Page and she elaborates on i t in many poems to suggest the aspect of solitude in the conflict with the forces of worldly experience. Momentarily Cullen appears to have found his 'heaven' after a journey from the 'hell-city': Decided that country people were big and free; found himself lodgings with fishermen on a c l i f f , slung his hammock from these beliefs and slept. Morning caught at his throat when he saw the men return at dawn like silver armored Vikings; the women were malleable as rising bread— in fact the environment was to his liking. Sea was his mirror and he saw himself twisted as rope and fretted with the r i p p l e s — concluded quietness would comb him out; for once, the future managed to be simple. He floated a day in stillness, f e l t the grass grow in his arable body, f e l t the gulls trace the tributaries of his heart and pass over his river beds from feet to skull. He settled with evening like a softening land, withdrew his chair from the sun the o i l lamp made, content to rest within his personal shade. His serenity i s short-lived;  the very nature of avaricious men destroys  the i d y l l i c peace and disrupts Cullen's assimilation with nature. The women, gathering, tatted with their tongues, shrouds for their absent neighbors and the men fired with lemon extract and bootlegged rum grew suddenly immense. No room could hold them—he was overrun, trampled by giants, his grass was beaten down.  Having exhausted a l l possibilities for a l i f e of peace on earth he goes to war, disillusioned, confused, uncommitted to the fight, a shadow of Sisyphus condemned to eternal frustration, a victim of the conflict between the impersonal forces of a malicious society. A more intensive study of Freud's influence of Page's work w i l l be appropriate with respect to later selections, but in connection with the conflict of the self with society, Page in "Cullen" does seem to adhere to Freud's thesis that society i s controlled by anxieties, real or imaginary, designed to repress or sublimate any human impulses towards greater freedom. P. K. Page broadens her presentation of conflict of opposites in poems and short stories that contrast surface appearances and human facades with the reality of the depths of feeling people experience. A. J. M. Smith in Canadian Forum writes of Page that, "In the inner l i f e of reverie, of self-analysis, and of dreams she finds a mirror-like stage for the re-enactment of the hesitations and struggles of the outer 16 world of objective experience".  Exterior calm masks a desperate inner  madness; beauty i s only an outward covering for a hidden terror or horror.  Surrealism, the French inspired movement in literature and art,  was influenced by Freudian thought.  The artist attempts to convey the  mind's subconscious activity by presenting images out of order or sequence as in a dream. Page modified this experimentation to express "the strangeness and terror that grow naturally out of the familiar as they 17 do in dreams".  The poet's preoccupation i s with penetrating the world  of action and appearances and plummeting the depths of sea, of cave, of mine, of ice, to go beneath the surface. Concrete accurate images of illness, contagion, loss of memory support the conflict of opposites,  contrasting with more abstract impressions of dream and waking states. It i s Smith who notes the " f l u i d i t y " and "impermanence" created from the poet's alternations between surface and depth when he comments that, Metamorphoses occur here, and strange alternations of being and non-being. Yet the images i n which a l l of t h i s i s presented are hard and clear. The writing i s precise and exact. These are 'imaginary gardens with r e a l toads i n them'. Only occasionally . . . does Miss Page make use of a romantic or exotic imagery.^ It was i n Contemporary Verse, 1 9 5 1 , that "Photos of a S a l t Mine" was f i r s t published. to  it.  The surface of t h i s poem has a c h i l d - l i k e innocence  The whiteness of the s a l t mine suggests t o the poet the play of  children i n snow and the pleasure of lovers i n bed. "Miniature matterhorns  Miners climb  . . . and scoop from darkness an a l l a d i n ' s cave:/  rubies and opals g l i t t e r from i t s walls". view i s deceptive however,  The poet's subjective surface  "Salt's l o v e l y i c e " dissolves into "a lake  within a cave/laquered with jet/white's opposite".  The surface i s the  photograph, . . . l i k e children's wishes are f i l l e d with caves or winter innocence has acted as a f i l t e r , selected only beauty from the mine. But the discordant note of theme enters i n the l a s t photographic shot taken at "an acute high angle". The beauty of the mine and miners i s now  distorted,  Like Dante's v i s i o n of the nether h e l l men struggle with the bright cold f i r e s of s a l t locked i n the black inferno of the rock: the f i l t e r here not innocence but g u i l t . The opposition of innocence with g u i l t occurs through the juxtaposition of images of blackness and f i r e ,  s a l t with snow, rock with the struggle  of the miners and ugliness with surface b r i l l i a n c e and beauty. "pin  men"  Page's  miners express the same sense of quiet desperation with t h e i r  l o t as her stenographers  i n whose eyes the "pin men of madness i n mara-  thon trim/race round the track of the stadium p u p i l " . In s t i l l another poem "Schizophrenic", Miss Page contraposes an innocent surface appearance xd.th a v i o l e n t explosive "nether h e l l " beneath.  Overtones of The Sun and The Moon and Speyer's  quoted i n the novel, occur i n "Schizophrenic".  "Kleptomanic",  "Cakes l i k e flowers"  and "cups dreamy with cream" oppose the t e r r i f y i n g image of the giant struggling "to break the matte mask" of the g i r l ' s skin and be free and i n control.  The f i n a l stanza of the poem with i t s sharp images reveals  the triumph of the h o r r i f y i n g portion of a s e l f over the innocence of the i n d i v i d u a l .  nature  Opposition i s the essence of the poem's creative  tension. A l l i s often not what i t appears t o be i n P. K. Page's poetry. The i n d i v i d u a l i n "opportunist" appears aflame with drive and purpose: Almost a f i r e himself on h i s flaming r e e l he tunnelled the night and ate the sparks at a gulp; a r r i v i n g he entered the very heart of the blaze. Then the clash with r e a l i t y : But he had never intended t o put i t out: and quick as an actor i n the wings he strode onto the stage when the scenery c a l l e d h i s clothes. The dream i s the active existence, r e a l i t y the passive, and individuals l i k e t h i s opportunist are torn between the r e l a t i v e security of s e l f i s o l a t i o n and the v i t a l i t y , but insecurity, of self-awareness.  Page's  basic presentation of c o n f l i c t of solitude with multitude i s seen again. • The "Only Child" i s not a l l he appears t o be either,  Overprotec-  ted and r e s t r i c t e d i n h i s growth towards self-hood by a mother f a i n t l y reminiscent of "The Landlady", the boy, as man, appears t o be a l l h i s mother had hoped f o r - "the noted n a t u r a l i s t — / h e r very affectionate and famous son".  Is t h i s image r e a l or a dream;  the picture of a "painted  land" or the "deep grass of the island"?  Page deliberately confuses the  reader to emphasize the terror and horror of the f i n a l view of the only child who caught the birds, . . . and snapped and wrung their necks b r i t t l e as l i t t l e sticks. Then through the bald, unfeathered air and coldly, as a man would walk against a metal backdrop, he bore down on her and placed them in her wide maternal lap and accurately said their names aloud: woodpecker, sparrow, meadowlark, nuthatch. The "Only Child" conveys an intensity through inner conflict of a similar magnitude to that of E. A, Robinson's "Richard Cory".  Both figures are  like icebergs, only one-tenth of the reality of the self i s publicly!; seen.  A further parallel of this presentation of the latent terror of a  pent-up nature lying under the surface can be seen in E, J. Pratt's "Prize Cat". At f i r s t seen as gentle, "Pure blood domestic, guaranteed/ Soft-mannered, musical in purr," the house cat on closer observation harbors the traits of the untamed leopard inside.  The poet writes that,  I saw the generations pass Along the reflex of a spring, A bird had rustled in the grass, The tab had caught i t on the wing: Pratt developed this theme and imagery in his work in much the same way as Page presented her conflict of opposites.  Such poems as "Brebeuf and T,  His Brethren", "From Stone to Steel" and "The Titanic" depict the thin tightrope that spans the gap between the cave and the city, between the jungle nature of man and the power of understanding and love, and Page's "Only Child" shows the i l l effectscof an individual who i s restrained and kept from walking the tightrope and reaching the humanizing side. The conflict of solitude with multitude takes on a varied form in "Puppets" and The Green Bird (1942), when laughter masks hidden tears.  hh.  The clown nature of the caricatured puppets is magnified to create comedy, yet the audience is watching but an inverted mirror image of themselves. reflected in microcosm.  In The Green Bird, P. K. Page as spectator,  stands at a distance from her pathetic subjects Mrs. Rowan, Miss Price and Ernest,  She acknowledges her complicity in being 'led' into the  surrealistic world of these impaled, shuttered xromen. At the same time, the author is a subject in the story. Yet i t is as i f she has no control over nor desire to escape from such a situation.  "'I'm going to c a l l  on Mrs. Rowan today and I hope you w i l l come', I said, Yes'. T  The desire  to be trapped by old Mrs, Rowan was stronger than any other feeling," At times i t i s as i f Page were outside her physical self, looking back over her shoulder and being astonished at her own sentences and behavior. She plays Miss Price's game and she i s like Mrs. Rowan while trapped in the tomb of the solid dark house. The story's conversation creates a surface impression, disjointed and detached, but definitely a cover to the horror and mystery lying behind this world:  for example, the following dialogue:  Ernest was carefully balancing his saucer on his knee, sitting very straight. There was no sound in the entire house, "I hope you are feeling better, Miss Price," Ernest said, I saw the immense silent body heave again, this time with sobs. Dreadful silent sobs. And then i t spoke for the f i r s t time. "They cut off both my legs three years ago. I'm nothing but a stump". And the sobbing grew deeper, longer, I looked at Ernest. I heard my own voice saying, "Such a lovely place to l i v e , t h i s — s o central. You can see everything from this room. It looks right out on the street. You can see everything." This tea party atmosphere is synonymous with that of Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter party or Queen of Hearts' croquet game. The world °f The Green Bird, like much of Alice In Wonderland and Through The  4-5.  Looking-Glass, i s both surrealistic and psychedelic.  John Sutherland i n  f i r s t noting a similarity between the work of Carroll and Page remarked that both worlds, which juxtapose the comic with the terrifying, fascinate by their apparent calm i n the midst of upheaval and the unexpected. A vibration i s f e l t in writing such as this when the outcome of events and images i s uncertain.  Page's story emerges like a 'theater of the  absurd play in i t s portrayal of a lack of cummunication and a shattering 1  of images.  Individuals thrust at one another with fragmented and absurd  'comments' i n a frustrating manic attempt to be understood - the f i n a l impression i s disjointed and deliberately incoherent - each figure i s a miniature solitude, too b r i t t l e to break and be melted into a common form with other individuals. Following a year's v i s i t to the west coast of Canada, Miss Page published another short story, Weekend—West Coast that also illustrates this clashing of fragmented ideas.  In the story, conflict of opposites  i s represented by the archetypal conflict of Paradise with Hades. The short story i s a portrait in detail of a decayed way of existence on Vancouver Island.  The people are atrophied remnants of British  immigrants who have remained insulated from the mainstream of Canada, Images of contagion are r i f e :  "Another week here and I fear the whole  place would shift and be viewed by that unseeing area of the eye. tagion.  Con-  But then, I am hysterical about contagion". Reality and illusion  clash constantly in Miss Page's perception of the place and the people. Transported by a sparkling clean white ferry and i t s dazzling crew to an i d y l l i c island setting "dry land among the dark mountains, the green sweet-smelling pastures and the large, heavily leafed trees", the poet's anticipation of good things to come from her v i s i t i s heightened.  Then she i s hit by the dichotomy of what l i f e i s really like on this Paradise.  The houses are "tottering under rusty corrugated iron-  roofs", "the children talk as i f they are grown ups, the grown ups as i f they are mentally deficient".  Sweet Alan, the local builder spends his  time making brown sugar whisky in pumpkins buried deep in manure; the Chinese cook crawls over the food in an effort to reach his room behind and through the refrigerator! As observer, the author sees beyond the apparent.  She notices  "The g i r l s who run the hotel , , . there in their pink and blue sheers, long ear-rings and rosebuds in their hair . . . and putting away beer like old hands. Already you can see the shape they w i l l become.  There's  a kind of soggy look about them". Tragedy dissolves into comedy over the failure of the "sexometer"; tranquility in the hotel room vanishes with the thud of the colonel's shoe heaved at the wall.  Ghostly tales of  horror about Mr. K., told round the kitchen campfire blend fantasy with fear.  Does i t much matter i f such stories prove true or not?  A l l the  observer wants i s to escape by bus and ferry from "The dark souls about on this island . . . they exude the smell of corruption." For to remain on the island would be to surrender to the disease of isolation and selfpity, and this Page refuses to do.  The conflict i s resolved by her  exodus. P. K. Page's recurring image patterns continue the conflict of opposites, of solitude and multitude.  The principal ones she employs are  associated with water, with snow and ice, with caves, mines and vaults, with eyes or with the juxtaposition of black on white. The image of a water self i s central in much of Miss Page's work. Many of her subjects exist in a state of submerged ignorance or innocence  below the surface of the sea. the  There are the lovers in "Photograph" and  immersed 'I' in "Element" who i s afraid in the light and longs to  "sink in darkness freed and whole again/as fish returned by dream into the stream".  Page's "Sailor" sees the undersea as "the south devoid of heat—  exotic, without scent, a clean country/demanding calling him wherever he went"  0  Her "Sleeper" "drowns without a sound/ . . . complete in sleep,  discards his arm and legs/ . . . takes the whole night in his lungs and head./ A hydrocephalic idiot . . . "  A l l are 'retarded' individuals in  some way, not whole in the sense of self-aware adults in the real world above the sea's surface.  To stay submerged may be a most pleasant and  soothing situation, but i t i s an ignorant one for the individual, one in which the senses are stimulated but the mind i s in a limbo state.  In inno  cence and youth, the "porpoise-like" "Young Girls" deep in their daze, dawdle and r o l l ;  "as i f in the sea." At f i r s t , when flung up on the land  they are uncertain and "they goggle, flounder, flap".  However, the terre-  s t i a l environment proves to be most appropriate and "earth becomes home— their natural element". In a discussion of the relationship between poetry and dream, Maud Bodkin points to a characteristic of much dream imagery, a quality that distinguishes Page's imagery.  In dreams, the dreamer experiences a  feeling of going deep into water u n t i l i t becomes warmer and more relaxing and expression that can be interpreted to indicate the desire of the individual to return to the 'maternal depths' - to the womb, to a warm shelter protected from turmoil above in outer experience. Bodkin notes that in much poetry "the image of the sea seems to be fused with that of 19 the  mother".  She goes further to explain this "element of sinking down  toward quiescence, as in the womb of the mother" to be the f i r s t stage in  the  total  Rebirth pattern,  its  complementary  stage being  a return  from  20  that  state,  instinct,  changed  or Nirvana p r i n c i p l e ,  or drowning' adopted  and renewed.  image  pattern,  Freudian idea to  The  "Stenographers" to  save h i m s e l f  Page's  is  safe,  be.  sea  The  "Boy w i t h  soft,  her are  .  .  is  at  own  also  this  to  from a watery beautifulaand  this  initial  point  that  P.  is  the  float  adolescent  version  i n an e x o t i c  if  drown and t h e  world of ignorant  void  self-realization.  of  cence the  any  of  cycle.  this  childhood to  sea t o  listening  dream w o r l d of  however,  the  an emergence  is  The "Young G i r l s "  to  "Sailor".  as  has  only  Life  makes  under  childhood  can  at  of  the  underlip  sensations  Page p o r t r a y s  land,  thought  arpeggios  childlike  self-knowledge  are,  Page  "Sleeper"  dreams.  Deep i n t h e  pleasant  a world of  on t h e  'sinking  deep  of the  realities;  K,  death  with  a l l the  as  the  to  c l e a r b o t t l e green of h i s ocean where l i k e a s l e e p s t r a n g e men d r o w n d r o w s i l y s p i r a l l i n g down t h e s e a ' s s t e e p t h e i r l a z y eyes closed  of  philosophy.  fighting  a Sea Dream" .  interpretation  corresponds  and i t  the  no attempt  Freud's  the  emotions change  l i n e wavers  less  both  "partially  and  fancies  from the  as  upward t h r u s t only  they  and no h a r s h  adulthood  most,  sea  inno-  a journey  of  the  under  Rebirth  amphibious"  and  eventually: .  .  .  the  shore  a n d c a u g h t a n d swung on t h e b r i g h t h o o k s o f e a r t h becomes h o m e — t h e i r n a t u r a l e l e m e n t . The t r a n s i t i o n f r o m i g n o r a n c e  to  necessity  evolve  beings Water  if  the  and not imagery  girls  become is  are to those  presented  awareness into  "half-created" i n other  is  a difficult  their  full  men o f  symbolic  their  one,  potential  certain  ways as  sex  well.  of  but as  a human  Page's  work.  One p o e m ,  "No  Flowers" with overtones of the dichotomy between s o c i a l classes, presents a v i s i o n of the underwater world as the 'Great L e v e l l e r ' of a l l s o c i a l inequality. No hand made shoes can reincarnate Peter and Elizabeth Arden cannot withstand s a l t water. Your face under the wave w i l l be p i t i f u l as the l i t t l e lackey's and the i n i t i a l l e d suitcase you pack and save w i l l only p r e c i p i t a t e the g a l l green grave. A l l the trappings of class d i s t i n c t i o n and wealth according t o the poet can be washed away when the ship sinks.  Water i s the cleansing power that  wipes away a r t i f i c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n s between individuals i n t h i s gentle and f a n c i f u l d i a t r i b e directed at the bored l e i s u r e class who cruised on the luxury l i n e r " .  "have always  Page's philosophy of s o c i a l equality could  become entwined with her capricious elaboration of imagery and the water symbolism i n the poem i s drawn t o an extravagant conceit i n the l a s t stanza where, Octopus arms w i l l hold you and sea snails w i l l stud the c a r e f u l l y massaged lobes of your ears; the wide blade of the water w i l l pare the hips down t o a size s i x t e e n — t h e coveted s i z e ; and s t a r f i s h , swept by the wakes of other ships, w i l l cast t h e i r angular shapes across your eyes. The image of the sea i s of a constructive s o c i a l force i n t h i s poem.  But  i n i'.Pbrtrait of Marina", Page emphasized the more destructive nature of water.  To the constrained heroine spinster, the ocean of her childhood  was not a thing of beauty, but, . . . Father's F e a r f u l Sea harsh with sea serpents winds and drowning men. For her i t held no s p i r a l of a s h e l l f o r her descent t o dreams, i t held no b e l l s . And where i t moved i n shallows i t was more imminently a danger, more a l i v e than where i t l a y o f f shore f u l l fathom f i v e . 1  Marina, as much a victim of her parental upbringing as the "Only Child", is in a sense 'retarded' and ignorant.  The isolation of her l i f e brought  on by the fear of authority exerted by her father isrreflected in the sea imagery. But where the wave breaks, where i t rises green turns into gelatine, becomes a glass simply for seeing stones through, runs across the coloured shells and pebbles of the shore and mades an aspic of them then sucks back in foam and undertow— this aspect of the sea Marina never knew. The contrast and conflict of father and child, of authority and submission, of suppression and freedom within an individual, are revealed through the two images of the ocean.  The beauty of the sea i s unknown to the "half-  created" Marina, another individual unable to traverse the path from s o l i tude to multitude. If water imagery i s perhaps most prevalent in P. K. Page's writing,  visions of winter and dreams of snow and ice are only slightly less  common. Canada, 'Our Lady of the Snows', has inspired its writers to draw on snow for much of their creative imagery.' Frederick Philip Grove's Snow stressed the need, for individuals not to forget the power and indifference of their physical surroundings to avoid acomplacency in a country enveloped by the strength of i t s natural forces.  Morley Callaghan with  his Montreal settings for his novels, Phyllis Webb in "Fantasia on Christian's Diary", Patrick Anderson's "Sestina in Time of Winter", Layton*s "First Snow: Lake Achigan", Anne Hebert with "Neige", Purdy's "Scarcities", the l i s t i s endless - a l l focus on white snow imagery for dramatic and symbolic meaning.  Miss Page i s part of this tradition.  In one of her most beauti-  f u l poems, "Stories of Snow", she creates a vision of whiteness, a Canadian winter legend that presents the snowy scene as symbolic of a static and deliberate state of innocence only found in the imagination. There is a softness and roundness to the poem, as i f one were walking on eiderdown. And there the story shifts from head to head, of how, in Holland, from their feather beds hunters arise and part the flakes and go forth to the frozen lakes in search of swans— the snow light falling white along their guns their breath in plumes. And of the swan in death these dreamers t e l l of i t s last flight and how i t f a l l s , a plummet, pierced by the freezing bullet and how three feathers, loosened by the shot, descend like snow upon i t . While hunters plunge their fingers in i t s down deep as a d r i f t , and dive their hands up to the neck of the wrist in that warm metamorphosis of snow as gentle as the sort that woodsmen know who, lost in the white circle, f a l l at last and dream their way to death. The ' f i l t e r of innocence', the whiteness of the snow, blots out a l l colour from the poem which then becomes a study of white images on white. A feeling of fantasia emerges as organic and inorganic objects dissolve and reform;  ice boats are swift gulls, flowers grow from hunter's chins,  and "Those in the vegetable rain retain/an area behind their sprouting eyes . . . which hold their snow storms circular, complete . . . " becomes feathers, hunters are like birds:  Snow  snow, swan and hunter are one  in the whiteness of the landscape and in the dream sequence of the story of the k i l l .  There are passages in the poem that echo the tone of Henrik  Ibsen's play The Wild Duck with i t s elusive search in the white perspective for love, peace, beauty - to travel "to an area behind the eyes/  where silent, unrefractive whiteness l i e s " , a snow world that can exist only i n story, a dream to those "in countries where great flowers bar the roads/with reds and blues which seal the route to snow—".  The play by  Ibsen and the poem by Page, both native i n setting to snow countries, reveal a quest for self-hood, through imagery of snow as a ' f i l t e r of innocence' obliterating the darkness of personal guilt. Page's "Snowman" i s also a representation of innocence, "white double 0, white nothing, nothing . . . Everyman . . . he i s s t i l l no man" i n the same way that Marina was no woman'. Innocence i s the sub11  stance of a hollow man, a mute figure, devoid of love and strong emotions, an'isolated self "in a landscape without love". Black on white, or white on black - the colour dichotomy established so early i n Page's writing - i s part of the poet's snow images. Miss Page, at one time a script writer for the National Film Board of Canada, predates a recent Film Board surrealistic production that closely parallels her snow dreams. Angel, a study of love on a white/black background uses snow symbolically.as a ' f i l t e r of innocence' and also as a representation of the impermanence of sustained emotions.  The dream  sequence of a snow romp by a butterfly-girl, a boy and a dog, i s haunted by the whispered refrain "I can't stay, I can't stay", for the message is that shared love i s but a fleeting experience. The atmosphere created in the film Angel, with i t s deliberate distortion of focus and i t s fragmented sequence of frames, i s strongly reminiscent of Page's poetic dreams of winter. Closely allied with the frozen xrorld as a retreat or refuge from awareness are the recurring images of caves, mines or vaults.  The arche-  typal conflict of Heaven and Hell, of Paradise and Hades i s seen through  the  imagery of surface gardens and cavernous "nether H e l l s " i n Page's  work. the  Even the sunless sea can be viewed as a form of darkness beneath  images of nature's beauty above.  S e l f - i s o l a t i o n and solitude are  r e a d i l y i d e n t i f i e d by the obscure "caverns of the mind" with " i n t r i c a t e  21 and winding chambers" that "thought can with d i f i c u l t y v i s i t " .  Page's  individuals conform, i n part, to the dictum ' I f rejected, r e t r e a t ' - into i c e , under water, into caves.  There one must only see the r e f l e c t i o n of  r e a l i t y , the photographic negative, Plato's shadow. The woman i n the "Bed-Sitting Room" i s l i k e an impaled moth "pinned to a board i n the f l o o r " .  Her "leaning tower of s e l f " i s a  four-walled 'cave world' with a faceless window. ling.  Her i s o l a t i o n i s s t i f -  "The I n a r t i c u l a t e " t y p i s t s and the young "Stenographers" are  locked i n the teeming vaults of modern society with l i t t l e drive l e f t i n them t o attempt an escape.  "The Condemned" lovers can only f i n d love  within the prison of t h e i r own making; The s t r i k e r s i n "Bank S t r i k e :  freedom destroys t h e i r emotion.  Quebec—1942" come from the " c e l l a r of  certainty" to defeat, i n t h e i r clash with the outer mainstream of entrenched urban society.  In "Remember the Wood" the reader i s caut-  ioned to retreat into a natural "vault" deep i n the forest i f uncongenial r e a l i t y presses. And i n the short story, The Green B i r d , Page enters a v e r i t a b l e tomb when she cannot " r e s i s t the desire t o be l e d through shutters and impaled on strange l i v i n g room chairs'.'.  She imagines d i s -  ease as "white and dim . . . crowding out the l i g h t " i n t h i s version of H e l l with i t s grinning gatekeeper and convoluted inhabitants.  Solitude  i s thus associated with confinement of some form and multitude with the converse, freedom i n the open. As Page observes her e a r l i e s t subjects, she presents them mostly  as victims of self-isolation, unable to bridge the gap of separateness with the rest of humanity.  Some, .however, do survive the 'journey towards  self-awareness and they are of interest for their uniqueness in Page's work. Her "Young Girls" are l e f t on dry land after their metamorphosis from a semi-amphibious stage.  In Page's "Some There Are Fearless",  there i s a reverberation of the lines of the preface to Irving Layton's Red Carpet for the Sun: They dance best who dance with desire Who l i f t i n g feet of f i r e from f i r e Weave before they l i e down A red carpet for the sun. Page fervently writes, like Layton, of those, While dreaming wishful dreams that w i l l be real, some there are fearless, touching a distant t h i n g — the ferreting sun, the enveloping shade, the attainable spring and the wonderful s o i l nameless, beneath their feet. In her attempt at solution to social problems the poet develops natural images of sun, s o i l , season, shade as symbolic of man's goals in l i f e . The passage from solitude to multitude i s from darkness into light and from winter into spring and from submersion to emersion,  Layton's f i r e -  dancers are activists involved with l i f e and living, and Page's fearless individuals are similar in that they share a common bond with a l l humanity in'their pursuit of l i f e .  They are self-aware. For example,  By the sun, by the sudden flurry of birds i n a flock, Oh, by love's ghost and the imagined guest— a l l these shattering, shaking the g i r l in her maidenhood, she knows him and his green song smooth as a stone and the word quick with the sap and the bud and the moving bird. Like Leda of the myth, Page's "Virgin" i s shaken into a moment of this  awareness through sexual experience and thus she loses her restrictive innocence along with her ignorance of love.  She becomes one of Page's  few successful individuals to break the bonds of solitude. A further example of the presentation of the communal state i n the conflict of opposites may be seen in the t i t l e poem of P. K. Page's f i r s t complete volume of poetry, "As Ten As Twenty", also entitled "Love Poem": For we can live now, love: a million in us breathe, moving as we would move and qualifying death= in lands our own and theirs with simple hands as these a walk as like as hers and words as like as his. They in us, free our love, • make archways of our mouths tear off the patent gloves and atrophy our myths. As ten, as twenty, now, we break from single thought and r i d of being two, receive them and walk out. Here the poet spins an involved metaphysical conceit of the multiplication factor of l i f e through the power of shared love, not isolated self-pity.  One unites with one, and then two divide, and the ramifi-  cations are a l l of humanity.  This poem is Page's embodiment of the value  of the communal aspect of l i f e . For a moment, there i s a community of feeling experienced in s t i l l another of Page's stories, Under Cover of Night, the cryptic and almost comic account of a 'love story* between man and cow. To communicate commands to the beast, a rather nervous animal, the man f i r s t tries force, then cajoling.  Forced to accompany one another along a country  lane at night, the man and the cow assume roles of strolling companions. The man formally introduces himself, pays the 'lady' compliments and at the moment of c r i s i s , the appearance of a fast moving car, reacts with the gallantry of a lover and pushes the cow to safety in a ditch, unfortunately on top of himself. After a brief moment of rest, the cow struggles to her feet, but the man knocked dizzy reacts in anger at the cow and again kicks her.  The thin thread of understanding i s lost:  off  goes the cow and after her the man, confused by his reactions and actions. He did achieve some form of shared feeling i f only momentary! This bond of communication takes a different form in The Woman. A traveller injured in a war ventures into a strange village in the country in search of a moment of peace away from the turmoil of war and urban l i f e and i s taken in by a very withdrawn woman. An overly sensitive observer, he i s obsessed with trying to know a l l he can about people, why they are as they are.  Through alternating moments of dream and  waking, he passes a f i t f u l night reliving his past in the country room of his childhood. his  Suddenly in his dreams, panic grips him as he sees both  self and i t s inverted reflection and in terror he screams: And then, very wonderfully, came an answering scream: high s h r i l l , female. As i f he had called to a mate and she had replied with immediate urgency. The sound reached him and f u l f i l l e d him and he f e l l asleep then as easily and completely as i f he had had a woman.  The barrier of solitude built up by the two individuals i s broken here by the screams, variations on the theme of empathy used earlier by Page in The Sun and The Moon. If one can realize the existence of another's s o l i tary existence and in doing so, establish a link of communication of any form between himself and the other person, then a community of experience and feeling i s formed which strengthens a l l involved and enables them to  see and understand themselves more clearly and to sense their own uniqueness and worth. One other example of Individuals who span the conflict of opposites can be seen in The Rat Hunt.  In this short story the isolation of  the apartment dwellers dissolves with their realization of the common human bonds they a l l share.  It is ironic that the rat hunt i t s e l f pro-  vides the immediate focus for the individuals: An enormous silence lapped, almost as i f i t were the hot air, on the watchers in the windows. They were now no longer isolated people but partisans, inactive only i f necessary. Silence covered them a l l and held them. Nothing but the sound of the stick hitting the wood and the high terrible squeaking of the trapped rat broke on empty ear drums. Yet, i t i s not of such importance what draws these people in to a circle of shared feelings, so much as, once drawn, they shed their insular fears. Incidental comments give them the opportunity to reveal personality they dislike rats;  like cleanliness and believe i t i s "next to Godli-  ness" ; are Russian and Hungarian and Scottish - yet they find they are only people with similar ideas.  Page employs a form of pathetic fallacy  to describe the growing bond of understanding among the four characters in her story.  "It was soft and warm and very friendly now.  grew expansive with the falling night—grouped and close".  These four As long as '-  the magic ring i s not broken, loneliness and isolation w i l l be banished. Page's poem " F a l l Thoughts", which only appeared in The Canadian Forum  (194-3)  repeats this image: Now l e t F a l l make the horizon narrow reduce the earth's circumference to an accepted t h i n g — easy chairs drawn close and set within a ring where the thin pointed flame shoots like an upward arrow.  This group of individuals in- a ring form a v i t a l human chain of defence, a community of souls banded together through shared experiences to ward  off the attack of encroaching dark solitude.  The basic conflict of self-  isolation and with involvement with others takes many forms in P. K. Page's writing, but some aspect of the opposition i s always to be found either in her image patterns, thematic-strains, or personal perception of individual subjects. The negative and positive positions of both conflicting states are set forth - early poems emphasizing the strength of the pull towards confinement within the self.  The resulting tension of this con-  f l i c t of opposites i s evident in the manner in which Page perceived her subjects and her society, and occasionally in some works the more constructive communal position emerges as dominant and the poet reveals glimpses of f u l l and active individuals freed from solitude, engrossed:"in multitude.  The free man i s contrasted with the restrained individual  and the conflict of solitude and multitude becomes the opposition of restraint with freedom.  FOOTNOTES - CHAPTER 2  Information i n a public lecture by Irving Layton at York University, Toronto, Dec. 6, 1969.  2 Northrop Frye, "Conclusion", Literary History of Canada, ed. Carl F. Klinck (Toronto, 1965), p.830. \ . E. Rashley, Poetry in Canada, (Toronto, 1958), p.139. on address, York University. ^Frye, op. c i t . , p.830. ^Neufville Shaw, "The Poetry of P. K. Page", Educational' Record (Quebec), LXIV, (July-Sept., 19^6), 155. 7john Sutherland, "The Poetry of P. K. Page", Northern Review,  I, (19^7), 14.  ^Maud Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns i n Poetry, (New York, 1958),  P.157. %odkin, op. c i t . , p.286.  Underlining is my own.  In P. K. Page, "Questions and Images", Can. L i t . , XLIV, (Summer U  1969), 20.  Sounds of Silence - song words and music by Paul Simon and Arthur Garfunkel. ^Archibald MacLeish, Poetry and Experience, (Baltimore, i960), pp.85-86. ^MacLeish, op. c i t . , p.78. 14;. Sutherland, op. c i t . , p.23 ^Ibid. 16A. J. M. Smith, "New Canadian Poetry", The Canadian Forum, XXVII, (Feb., 1947), 250. 1  ^ A . J. M. Smith, Oxford Book of Canadian Verse, (Toronto, i960), x i v i i i . 18  Smith, Canadian Forum, pp.250-251  l^Bodkin, op. c i t . , p.63. 2 0  Ibid.  ^Attributed to P. Shelley in Bodkin, op. c i t . , p.124, footnote 3.  CHAPTER  CONFLICT  OF  3  RESTRAINT AND  FREEDOM  P. K. Page expands her primary conflict of opposites, the dichotomy between the isolation of the self and the desire for a communal sharing of emotions, in much the same way as a baroque vista unfolds. From the kernel focal point of solitude at issue with multitude, the poet enlarges her perspective to include a view of the conflict of the external forces of restraint on an individual with the inner desire of that individual for personal freedom and self-fulfillment. Isolation of self and vulnerability of innocence are linked in that both are states of unawareness.  The search for self-knowledge,  beauty and love, i s part of the drive towards greater personal freedom and away from coercive forces.  Miss Page shows a particular interest  in children and childhood and this conflict of restraint with freedom i s much in evidence when she contrasts the force of parental authority with the assailable childhood state of innocence and malleability.  The beauty  and freedom of the child clash with the horror of overly protective parents or the blind desire for suzerainty exacted by the adult on the child.  In poems and stories, Page reintroduces the same imagery conflicts  that can be seen in those poems concerned with the opposition of solitude  60  with multitude - black/white dichotomy;  cave and mine visions;  snow  dreams; the alternation of depths and surface levels. In her latest book of published poetry, Cry Ararat!, the poet groups several works under the category "In Times Such as These" and in these poems, as i n certain of her short stories, Miss Page's social consciousness i s active.  Individuals and classes are victimized by  indifferent authority, by social barriers, or by war.  The muted conflict  of bourgeoise with proletariat elite i s f e l t in certain poems. Page juxtaposes the state of isolation of mind and lack of world concern for others that existed prior to the world wars with a new growth towards a global community of interest that sprang up as war forced people to learn more directly of the problems and nature of foreign nations. A form of contrast even exists in Page's work brought about by a confrontation of the influence of Marx and of Freud 6n;.the poet. The Marxian idea of love of humanity dissolves into a Freudian interpretation of communal existence as an escape from the fears of solitude.  Some of  P. K. Page's c r i t i c s such as Wynne Francis have held a f i l t e r of Marx's thought over her art:  others like David Hayne have avoided mention of  the nature of her social philosophy: s t i l l others like John Sutherland acknowledge the influence of Marx and Freud on certain of Page's writings.  In Sutherland's review of Miss Page's work i n Northern Review,  194-7, he wrote that "Miss Page's thinking i s thus Freudian rather than Marxist in origin . . . /Conflict/ . . . leads her to a specialized 1 view of the world and accounts in part for her poetic v i t a l i t y " .  He  was then to caution in a letter published the same year in Canadian Forum that one "cannot discuss P. K. Page with respect to social ideas alone, but one can't ignore these ideas entirely without basic f a l s i -  fication".  R. E. Rashley, in Poetry i n Canada, i s perhaps the most per-  ceptive when he observes in Page's prose and poetry that the poetic tension originates not purely from the poet's ideas of politics or economic progress.  To Rashley, "The social formula only happened to coincide 3  with a personal problem that demanded solution".  The "personal problem  that demanded solution" manifests i t s e l f in the selections by Page that present a conflict of restraint with freedom for children.  In the con-  cluding chapter of Archetypal Patterns i n Poetry, Maud Bodkin, in reviewing the results of her studies of imaginative experience communicated through poetry believes the most important finding of her work to be: . . . an awareness of the individual as having his reality in relation to a larger l i f e , communicated to him under different conditions, in varying degree . . . The powerful and continuing influence upon an individual's sensibility of the early relation to his parents i s a factor we have found objectified again and again within poetic imagery . . . Always we found in the experience, together with the binding influence of the parent-image, a movement toward freedom and fulfillment.^ Four poems by Page clearly focus on this conflict of opposites: "Only Child". "Paranoid", "Portrait of Marina" and "His Dream". In each poem the child's emotional growth i s stunted by the parent's enforced w i l l and the end result i s an ignorant isolated adult incapable of functioning as a total member of his community. The "Only Child" i s torn between the desire for protection and security embodied in his mother and the fear brought about by her overprotection of him and her s t i f l i n g of his wish to be free to live and think in "his private world": The early conflict made him pale and when he woke from those long weeping slumbers she was there and the a i r about them—hers and h i s — sometimes a comfort to him, like a quilt but more often than not a fear.  The boy views nature in his own way,  on his own terms, not his mother's.  But she i s unable to comprehend the uniqueness of her son's own identity and retards his emotional maturation: Birds were his element like air and not her words for them—making them statues setting them apart nor were they lots of l i t t l e facts and details like a book. When she said "Look!" he l e t his eyeballs harden and when two came and rested in the garden he f e l t their softness, gentle, near his heart. His appreciation of the nature of his environment is more intuitive than his mother's.  Yet the power of the adult with her perception of reality  triumphs over the innocence of the child.  The boy's struggles to resist  and yet to conform to his mother's "future photograph" of him dissipate. Perhaps out of need for praise or affection he "freezes" into her desired mould. The resulting horror of this l i f e i s revealed at the end of the poem. Restraint has subdued the growth of the individual towards awareness and inner freedom. Similarly the boy in "His Dream" is vulnerable to the power of the adult who "names the world".  In his "dream", he, the child, i s the  controller and originator: . . . objects waited patiently for the colours he should name. And i t was like a game with each thing there dependent on his notice. He was charmed that a l l were eager for his coloured stare. But for the woman he was unprepared. Like the "Only Child", this boy struggles to resist the dominance of the adult, "He argued and protested, raised his voice, stamped his foot upon the purple grass".  But to no avail, as again Page shows the loss of  beauty and child-like innocence exacted by the state of adulthood.  >  Although each object assumes the colour " i t had needed" a tone of sadness remains i n the l o s s , Marina i s another ' v i c t i m ' of p a r e n t a l domination, tormented by the harshness of her father's manner towards h e r : The s a l t upon the panes, the grains of sand t h a t crunched beneath her h e e l her father's v o i c e , " M a r i n a ! " — a l l these broke her trembling e d i f i c e . The needle shook her i c e betxreen her f i n g e r s . In her head 1  too mnay mirrors d i z z i e d her and broke. The poet's use of mirror and i c e imagery r e i n f o r c e t h e ' b r i t t l e ' q u a l i t y of the daughter.  "Warped/without a smack of s a l t " , Aunt Marina i s only  a glass s h e l l of what she might have been and the presentation of l o s t or stunted p o t e n t i a l i s symbolized by the w i l d d e s t r u c t i v e nature of the sea. Like Marina, the "Paranoid" a l s o has suffered the change from warm v i b r a n t f l e s h i n t o inanimate c o l d stone. t h i s i n d i v i d u a l clashes w i t h what has been.  What might have been f o r The poem begins with an  image of the c h i l d as a thunder-god, o v e r l y protected and indulged by parental l o v e , which t o Page i s a form of adult dominance over innocence as w e l l ;  "flowers were h i s path . . . h i s mother was a l l love . . . I n  adolescence . . . he was p e r f e c t ; world out".  s t i l l godlike and l i k e a god/cast the  But t h i s i n d i v i d u a l "loved himself t o o much" even as a c h i l d  and the i r r e p a r a b l e damage was done t o o e a r l y t o be reversed: s e l f - i s o l a t e d and untouchable, vast reaches of space.  he becomes  a moon planet w h i r l i n g l i k e l i g h t i n the  Not only i s the beauty of h i s childhood l o s t , but  a l s o any hope f o r the self-awareness  of adulthood.  Childhood i n t h i s  poem i s portrayed as warm, a l i v e , f i l l e d w i t h love and flowers.  Adol-  escence evolves f o r t h i s i n d i v i d u a l i n t o a dark and s i l e n t 'chapel* empty of other human a c t i v i t y . Then, the poet brings i n the adult stage i n the  image of cold vast empty space where the now-isolated self has become a dead stone moon orbiting in ever-increasing spheres of 'reflecting light'. This dead image represents the 'victory' of the force of solitude over the natural human instinct and wish for communication and shared love that did exist, even for this individual, when he was a child.  To progress  from childhood i s to move from the light of the sun into the darkness of reflected moonlight in this poem by Page. "Parachutist", a poem that has only appeared in Canadian Poetry (194-8), seemingly reverses the light-darkness pattern of "Paranoid" as i t too presents the loss of childhood. To the child of six years a l l i s "darkness solid" in his imposed state of unax^areness;  he must climb  "the ebony ramp of the evening stairs" without much strength.  At ten,  light and darkness are mixed and the shadows they cast s t i l l hold "obstacles forever undisclosed".  When this boy breaks from his child-  hood cavern into the light of self-knowledge i t i s only to discover that adulthood i s now the "dark" hidden form, a "rock that hides in i t s geography".  His childhood now appears more beautiful as white, and he i s  lost without words in a limbo xjhere "man becomes child, suspended by a cloud".  The conflict between the opposing forces of restraint and free-  dom operating on and within the individual vacillates back and forth in the poem through the poet's interplay of black-white and darknesslight imagery. Childhood as light and white and innocence and beauty i s also to be found in another selection by Page, "Alice".  The adult Alice in the  children's story-poem,deliberately enforces her w i l l by hunting down and crushing the soft white rabbit, formerly !*her childhood wonder": awareness of the irrevocable loss of this prized treasure makes Alice afraid:  Oh adult Alice mined with memory your garden's altered, Mary Quite Contrary prods cockle shells in every flower bed and where you wandered coolly on the grass a ghostly rabbit reigns supreme instead. She has k i l l e d the beauty of past innocence and in doing so has changed the present.  The loss of childhood's freedom and innocence i s presented  in the poem as a dishevelling upset and deadening personal experience that, like the ghostly rabbit, w i l l return again and again to haunt the adult Alice. The loss of childhood is described as a "caul" l e f t "in some abandoned place,/unremembered by fingers or the incredibly bright/stones, which for a time,' replace . , . The childrens "Children".  1  eyes" in Page's poem  This work f i r s t entitled "Little G i r l s " draws a parallel  between the children and the things of nature and motion. As i f in dreams the children float in innocence: They merge in a singular way with their own thoughts, Drawing an arabesque with a spoon or fork Casually on the air behind their shoulders, Legs in the dance group as though on strings Pulled by their indifferent wanton hands. Though lacking the control of their selves, these children present a fanciful image of grace and beauty.  But the conflict does exist and the  aging process i s unrelenting. The change into adulthood makes these delicate creatures hard and acute in their drive "to become whole, f i t themselves to the thing/They see outside them".  Page acknowledges how  changed they w i l l be, but emphasizes the fullness of character that selfawareness brings with i t . Patrick Anderson responded to this poem in the following issue of Preview (1945) with "Children (For P. K. P.)", his version of the  dream period of childhood and of adult perception of this distorted time: These to whom everything happens but history Continually was with cold water of their eyes The world, selecting i t s pebbles And glass, which l i e under them best. Forwarded to the future across this time Though they be lost or spoiled before they ever reach That destination, they s t i l l parcel secrets And angular like presents caught in mid-transit They scatter Christmas and tinsel between our hands. The dream of child time i s more real than the apparent reality of the adult world i n the poem. But Anderson, like Page shows the bitter deception of maturation where there i s no chance for retreat into the ignorance of childhood, and innocence and beauty are gone. A further poetic delineation of this 'sea-change' from the innocence of the child to the awareness of the adult occurs in P. K. Page's five line poem "On Educating the Natives": They who can from palm leaves and from grasses Weave baskets of so intricate a beauty and simply as a g i r l combing her hair, are taught in a square room by a square woman to cross-stitch on checked gingham. This tightly constructed image reveals again the conflict of restraint with freedom in the individual as the poet shows how the imposition of the adult's 'burden' of bringing 'knowledge' to the child-like native destroys the inherent beauty of the simplicity of innocence they natura l l y possessed. There are many victims of this conflict in Page's writing as these selected poems reveal.  In her interpretive article "Questions and  Images", Miss Page perceives the struggle of such victims when she explains the nature of some of her painting: The golden—yes, there i t was again—web spun by the spider among the leaves of the century plant? Surely the very purpose of a web demands invisibility? Yet this was a lure, a glistening  s m a l l sun, j e w e l l e d a l r e a d y w i t h opalescent what?  victims.  Victims of  The importance o f a marmoset i n a r a g e , p i t t i n g i t s e l f a g a i n s t me, i t s f i n g e r s l i k e t h e stems o f v i o l e t s , u n a b l e t o break t h e s k i n o f my hand. How q u i c k l y one l e a r n s about s c a l e w i t h a marmoset f o r companion. Man i n a rage w i t h h i s gods, o r e q u a l l y s u p e r f i c i a l l y , p l e a s e d w i t h them. 5 The  r e l a t i o n s h i p o f t h i s comment t o t h e c o n f l i c t  her w r i t i n g i s t h a t here t h e poet p r e s e n t s universal pattern of e x i s t e n c e , his  of o p p o s i t e s  h e r own b e l i e f i n a form o f  of resolved s t r e s s e s operating  on a l l l e v e l s and s c a l e s  Man, i n h i s own eyes, assumes m a g n i f i c e n t  s h o r t - r a n g e l i f e view r e v e a l s h i m s e l f t o h i m s e l f  c a n t , f r e e and unique.  of human e x i s t e n c e . and  proportions  as aware,  o f man's  a g r e a t e r more o b j e c t i v e and long-range  signifi-  self-view  perspective  The n a t u r e of human v a c i l l a t i o n between s u b l i m i t y  a b s u r d i t y , between a b e l i e f i n f r e e w i l l  o r p r e d e s t i n a t i o n , and  between t h e d e s i r e f o r i n d i v i d u a l freedom and t h e o p p o s i t i o n r e s t r a i n i n g f o r c e s o f man'js environment i s t e l e s c o p e d image.  -  But Page's p i c t u r e o f t h e r e l a t i v i t y o f s c a l e o f  marmoset p i t t e d a g a i n s t man d i s c l o s e s t h e a b s u r d i t y when s e t a l o n g s i d e  observed i n  Man and marmoset, though i g n o r a n t  t o g a i n a sense o f p e r s o n a l  freedom.  of the  into this  o f t h e odds, s t r u g g l e  vivid violently  Perhaps, as some o f Page's poems  show, i f t h e t r u e n a t u r e o f t h e i r opponent were t o be known t h e y would abandon a l l hope and r e v e r t t o s t o n e - c o l d p a s s i v i t y . The Air",  opposition  of f o r c e s continues  i n h e r work.  I n "The G l a s s  t h e poet now p i t s innocence a g a i n s t b r u t a l i t y as she d i d i n  " A l i c e " and t h e "Only C h i l d " .  C o n f u s i o n r e s u l t s as t o whether t h e c h i l -  d r e n i n t h e poem o r t h e gopher a r e t h e v i c t i m s o f t h e dream sequence. The  poem concerns i t s e l f w i t h t h a t f i r s t moment o f awareness t h a t s t r i k e s  upon t h e c h i l d ' s mind:  But the toy beast and the long rein and the paid out lengths of our youth snapped as the creature jibbed and b i t and the bright blood ran out, the bright blood trickled over, slowed, grew dark lay sticky on our skins And we two, dots upon that endless plain Leviathan became and f i l l e d and broke the glass air like twin figures, vast, in stone. These individuals, like the young "Parachutist", learn abruptly and violently that the acquisition of awareness exacts a heavy t o l l of beauty and innocence.  The conflict of opposites i s conveyed through the imagery  that shifts from that of growth and v i t a l i t y to stone and glass as child becomes adult. In March of 1944, Miracles appeared in Preview as "(an extract from a story not yet finished in which an English-speaking husband and wife v i s i t a French-Canadian village)".  Page shows the conflict that  exists in this hamlet between the innocent child-like nature of the local church parishioners and the power and knowledgeof the local cure who 1  is believed capable of performing miracles . 1  1  There are images of light and darkness ; of the "giant illuminated cross" on the dark h i l l s i d e ; pale, diseased people.  of tomb-like houses f i l l e d with ghostly  Everything in this village setting i s incandescent  green and white: The greenness grew deeper as we talked—came up and swamped us until i t seemed as i f we were under the sea. The green light was deeper now, the children behind their mother seemed no longer strange, but t e r r i b l e — t i n y and f a i r and lifeless while Madame rocked unceasingly back and forth in her chair, and beside them on the h i l l s i d e , the vegetation crept in closer and closer like a wave.  These simple people subsist in innocence and ignorance, tied to the magic power of the cure and the tradition of the church that Page sees as inhibiting any progress towards self-awareness for these victims.  They  w i l l remain innocent as only retarded children can, and the horror of the observer, in this story the wife, or Page, results from her perception of this tragedy, of restraint imposed by authority on the childlike individual. Northrop Frye, through mythopoeic eyes, described a wish in many people, a wish P. K, Page incorporates in her work, to return again to the supposedly happier time one spent as a child.  He calls this urge  when expressed in poetic mythology a "pastoral myth, the vision of a social ideal": The pastoral myth in i t s most common form i s associated with childhood, or with some earlier social condition—. . . that can be identified with childhood. The nostalgia for a world of peace and protection with a spontaneous response to the nature around i t , with a leisure and composure not to be found today, i s particularly strong in Canada. Close to the center of the pastoral myth i s the sense of kinship with the animal and vegetable world. . . . pastoral myths, even in their genuine forms, do not exist as places. They exist, rather in such things as the loving delicacy of perception. . . The genuine myth (as opposed to nostalgic pastoral) would bring subject and object closer together by drawing the subject from a fantasy world. 0  If one accepts this definition of a 'pastoral myth' then i t can be applied to three of Page's poems, "Christmas Eve—Market Square", "Stories of Snow", and "Images of Angels", a l l of which carry the reader back to childhood as the poet weaves dreams of snow and innocence and beauty. In "Christmas Eve—Market Square" the conflict of opposites i s not present - the entire snowy landscape of the poem appears void of any  discord or tension and only the peace and harmony of a winter holiday scene prevails.  There i s an animal quality to the season where trees are  furry monsters, who hold within themselves a l l the secrets, traditions and warmth of the festival: The sellers, bunched and bundled, hold their ears, blow lazy boas as they c a l l their wares, and children out of legends pulling sleds, propr t a l l trees straight in search of symmetry and haul the spikey aromatic wonder of tree through a snowy world. Images of angels, feathers, soft snow, happy children, and "trees bursting  into Christmas bloom in the warmth and light of homes" create the  spell of the pastoral myth. Visions of imaginary snow storms, swans, falling feathers and white sea gulls are used for a similar purpose in "Stories of Snow". In a "warm metamorphosis of snow" the poet carries her reader back to childhood like hunters "lost in the white circle" who f a l l to sleep, to dream and to death in the snow. Then in "Images of Angels" Page, as observer, attempts to return with her reader to past innocence through the use of imagination in imagery.  'What are angels like?  If you met one, what would you do?'  But the clash of the rational adult mind personified by the financier, the scientist and the l i t t l e notary, with the child's point of view reintroduces the opposition of freedom with restraint as a conflict of logic with intuition, and prohibits any f u l l understanding of the innocence of imagination. Surely children "who imagine /angels/ more simply,/see them more coloured and a deal more cosy" could be friends with an angel?  Perhaps once a dog could accept them wholly, Or, take the nudes of Lawrence and impose asexuality upon them; those could meet with ease these gilded albinos. Or a child, not knowing they were angels could wander along an avenue hand in hand with his new milk-white playmates, But the influence of the 'father' mind restrains the child: But say the angelic word and this innocent with his almost unicorn would l e t i t go for even a child would know that angels should be flying in the sky and, feeling implicated in a l i e , his flesh would grow cold and snow would cover the warm and sunny avenue. Again the contrast in imagery to show the world as i t is seen through the eyes of the child and through those of the adult is central to Page's poem "The Bands and the Beautiful Children".  Such continuing emphasis  on the theme of conflicting stresses reveals the duality of perception xri-th which the poet observes most aspects of l i f e around her. exists solely by and for i t s e l f .  Nothing  A l l ideas, a l l objects, a l l individ-  uals are part of some universal design, a design of unresolved  tensions  and stresses which is of interest to Page because she observes in this conflict a sense of 'stability'.  The conflict of such forces w i l l con-  tinue to exist and i t i s man who must adapt and grow to accustom himself to this inevitable situation. Failure on his part, or on society's, may result in ruined human worth and potential, and this she portrays in much of her writing. F u l l of reverberating sounds, the poem "The Bands and the Beautif u l Children" begins by constructing a distant vision of light and  beauty, a building of sound: Band makes a tunnel of the open street at f i r s t hearing i t ; seeing i t , band becomes high; brasses ascending on the strings of sun build their own auditorium of light, windows from cornets and a dome of drums. This vision i s carried in the imagination of the "beautiful children/ white with running and innocence".  Distance and innocence, however,  prove but a bitter distortion of reality which confronts the children as: . . . band breaks and scatters, crumbles about them and i s made of men tired and grumbling on the straggling grass. The illusion i s irreparable, and like "Alice" and the "Parachutist" and the children in "The Glass Air", and so many other of Page's individuals, these beautiful children are adrift in confusion and fear at the destruction of their vulnerable innocent perception: And the children, lost, lost, in an open space, remember the certainty of the anchored home and cry on the unknown edge of their own city their lips s t i f f from an imaginary trumpet. With the shattering of the images of light and beauty, a l l that remains is cold, empty and unfeeling, and the children, now aware of the impermanence of l i f e and the facade of reality, are less v i t a l - almost akin to the cold planet-like self, the "Paranoid", of another of the poet's case studies. It i s in " F a l l Thoughts" that the poet had offered a positive hope for individuals such as these lost children.  To Page such hope lies  only through the sharing of individual solitudes.  Only then can people  retain the 'magic circle' of love and security in the midst of vast unknown forces that press in from the darkness beyond their small human  fires.  Some can resist the encroaching force of solitude, others are  unable and succumb to i t .  The Resignation with i t s wartime background  presents a lost adolescent, alone, afraid and 'aware'.  James, the young  print shop worker, like "The Boy with a Sea Dream", lives in the world of his imagination.  His i s a world 'peopled' with aeroplanes soaring  and diving low over water: In the print room, his nails brown from the developer, his face pear-shaped, pear-coloured, bearing the great bone of nose he had not yet grown to, the kid watched the water dropping into the tank. He turned the tap only a l i t t l e , seeing aeroplanes flying out of i t s nozzle and nose diving into the sea. He i s confronted in his dreaming by the sharp reality of his practical boss who keeps him at the job at hand, and by the office workers who, in their ignorance of his innocence, are a trap to the boy when he f a i l s the pilot's examination: "Have you heard yet, kid?" They were at him again. Chattering round him, coloured, bright, laughing, waiting. He was trapped . . . the dragnet of their eyes outspread as he passed. He i s Alice's white rabbit, "out of place/a mark for dogs and foreign in her garden": He looked like a rabbit, his face sweeping away to his ears . . . /At the physical examination/ The rabbit's ribs were thumped; the bent chest measured; his heart exploding like shells a l l over his flesh, was listened to through a long tube; r  As his dream of flying in the war shatters in the clear air of reality, the young man i s dazed and bursts out to his co-workers that he's accepted for ground crew training, agreeing to sign a resignation: He was somebody else. His voice went up and down . . . They shoved the letter at him, gave him a pen and he signed, his writing tight and small again with the jerking nervous loops . . . and he walked off like one of those wooden figures with the swinging legs that move forward when started down a slope. Now even the security of the boy's printing job has vanished along  with his innocent dream of flying above his early problems.  He w i l l be  forced to go back to his 'cave' in a butcher's shop, a job from which he previously shrank.  The 'stone' image of his adult self-knowledge i s  contained in the f i n a l lines of the story: But the kid wasn't thinking of planes at a l l . He was thinking of lamb's kidneys in their blankets of suet inside carcasses, the blood on butcher's hands and the coldness of meat. Like so many of the individuals Page creates, such as the typists in "Stenographers" and "Offices", the dreamers, even the lovers i n "Adolescence" , this boy tries to escape into dreams to end the conflict of the encroaching horrors of reality beating against his struggle to be free.  The conflict for these characters i s one of the'.inborn need of the  human to find a personal freedom and thus self-fulfillment when confronted by the rather indifferent force exerted by other individuals or by one's cultural and social environment.  A study of Miss Page's prose and poetry  provides evidence that the poet's presentation of an active social consciousness i s only a continuance of the dichotomy of freedom and restraint operating on and within individuals. The Cry Ararat! poems grouped under the heading of "In Times Like These", along with others of Page's so-called 'social poems', generally reinforce the conflict of man joined with nature i n opposition to the tyrannic power of a society that breeds war, poverty, injustice and class divisions.  The drive towards personal freedom i s coupled with that to-  wards a vision of world peace and justice for a l l . Frye writes that: The depression introduced a dialectic into Canadian social thought which profoundly affected i t s literature. In Mr. Watt's striking phrase, 'the Depression was like an intense magnetic f i e l d that deflected the courses of a l l the poets who went  through i t . . . It i s not surprising, given this background that the belief in the inspiration of literature by social significance continued to be an active force long after i t had ceased to be attached to any specifically Marxist or other p o l i t i c a l programmes. It i s s t i l l strong in the Preview group in the forties.? 1  Frye notes that the early work of Page and others associated with Preview grew out of the Auden-Isherwood and Spender era i n British poetic development, but feels that Miss Page "listened more to Freud than to o  Marx".  In an article collected by George Woodcock in A Choice of  Critics, Wynne Francis states that of the two r i v a l Montreal poetry groups, both p o l i t i c a l l y conscious, the, Preview poets were more doctrinaire and more markedly committed to the l e f t i n varying degrees. Strong sympathies were f e l t with the continental communism of the Auden-Spender-MacNeice variety.9 The social dynamism of the times generated energy for the Preview group.  Miss Page in a recorded conversation with Dorothy Livesay speaks  of the p o l i t i c a l climate: I remember on one occasion a room was taken at the Ritz, for Preview and First Statement to argue out something . . . whether i t was nationalism or internationalism, or.what i t was, I know i t was a very emotion-fraught evening. Editor-in-chief Patrick Anderson, described by a c r i t i c as "proletarian  11 by choice, Canadian by desire and poet aflame with purpose" ~ was the catalyst amongst his Preview colleagues.  Fred Cogswell directly a t t r i -  butes Page's experiments in a more baroque manner to her association xjith  12 Anderson. The 1 9 ^ 2 f i r s t issue of the publication set forth the poetic manifesto for this venture whose members hoped to achieve a synthesis "between the l y r i c and didactic elements in modern verse, a combination of vivid, arresting imagery and the capacity to 'sing' with social content and criticism".  They went on to explain that:  We have lived long enough in Montreal to realise the frustrating and inhibiting effects of isolation. A l l antifascists, we feel that the existence of a war between democratic culture and the paralyzing forces of dictatorship only intensifies the writer's obligation to work, (Preview I, March 194-2) P. K. Page's involvement and sympathy with this group can be seen in her feeling concerning the nature of poetry in Canada published in the October 1942 issue of Preview. Today.the poet i s no longer silent. He has yet to come to grips with himself and stop crying "Help" from the prairies and woods and mountains. If instead he w i l l hitchhike to the towns and identify himself with his own people, forget for awhile the country of his own head, he may find his age and consequently his belief. Her advice seems to run contrary to the suggestion she makes in the poem "Cullen".  Cullen observed the quality of l i f e for individuals in the  city and took to the country unable to make such advice work. For a l l the show of 1930's Marxist thought, P. K. Page exhibits an 'open-mindedness  1  in her social arguments.  In "Some There are Fearless" the desire  emerges that a l l social groups share "the wonderful s o i l " . viewpoint i s relative to her sympathy with her subjects:  Page's social just as she  sympathized with the stemographers' search for love, she yet remained detached from a similar search in "Summer Resort". division dissolves in brine.  In "No Flowers" class  In "Election Day" the "rather gentle over-  lords/propped by their dames and almost twins in tweeds", of Tory Westmount may only "sleep" momentarily. the wealthy isolated community.  There i s a hint of change even in  But in Page's "Personal Landscape" there  is room for a l l points of view in this "lung-born land" : Not only the poor s o i l only, the outworn prairie, but the green upspringing, the lark-land, the promontory.  There is an ambivalence in the poet's attitude to class divisions, in unresolved tension.  Sutherland writes of i t in this way:  . . . her feeling for the 'wonderful s o i l ' of the future lacks the energy of her attack on a l l classes indiscriminately, and generally consists of a tag line or stanza at the end of the poem. In spite of the venom of her so-called social poems, she finds the Marxist thinking too harsh, and prefers a love which shall hold the 'poor s o i l ' and the 'rich uplands' — proletariat and bourgeoisie—in a single embrace. ^ The conflicts of solitude and multitude, of restraint on freedom, are enlarged on by the opposition of isolationism and universality in the social poems. The pull to overcome constraints of separateness and to be part of a larger world community of experience is s t i l l P. K. Page's central theme. In her writing of social consciousness, idealism confronts realism:  youth and vulnerable old age are caught in war time;  narrow insu-  lar existences must break down or withdraw further when faced with the destruction of class and national barriers; workers trapped in the 'vault' of a technological society are urged to struggle for greater humanity, equality and dignity of labour, Northr^cp Frye observes that a form of "social Freudianism", a "democratic counterpart to Marxism" i s part of the development of culture in North America following the depression and the beginnings of This repression of an individual's or a  war.^  society's attempts to gain free-  dom is tied in with the conflicts presented by Page, Her story Leisure Class has the fantasy of the British horror film If - ' i f only we could k i l l a l l our oppressors deadt' ghost-like misfits are rejected by the hotel guests.  The three  Only the child, in  her innocence, shows any concern: People stopped on the way to the desk, stared at the three  men, shook their heads, shrugged their shoulders. A small child . . . ran from her mother's side and looked at the man nursing his foot. She dipped like a miniature ballerina over the shoe, pale and f a i r by the black-suited man, interested as he in the sole of his foot. Her mother . . . found the child gone . . . ran to her, slapped her narrow wrist and pulled her away. Class prejudice i s replaced by age prejudice;  the child has not been  instructed to hate or reject those of unlike circumstances in this story. Again the conflict is expressed through light and dark imagery as in so many of Page's poems to highlight the poet's dual perception of her subjects and their attitudes. Preview February 194-3 was dedicated "to the Red Army whose recent heroic successes have done so much for the cause of human freedom and culture everywhere".  In i t , P. K. Page, a secretary at the time, con-  tributed a lengthy article describing stenographers and their attitudes about the times, the war and themselves.  The rigid authority, yet indif-  ference, of their bosses and the petty routine of the jobs combined to make their lives a "nether h e l l " .  She writes of these girls that:  They think of the war effort i n terms of personalities they think of their personal freedom in the same terms— both somehow arising from and connected with the boyfriend, and both confusingly, seeming to pull i n opposite directions. Unfortunately there was no one to t e l l them that winning the war and attaining personal freedom are one and the same thing. Following this article was a poem by F. R. Scott, "The Typists" which presented the poetic version of Page's thoughts: They without message, having read the running words, on their machines know every letter as a stamp cutting the"stencils of their ears. Deep in their hands, as pianists, a l l longing gropes and moves, i s trapped behind the tensile gloves of skin. Or blind, s i t with their faces locked away from work, their varied eyes  are s t i f f as everlasting flowers. While fingers on a different plane perform the automatic act and questions grope along the dark and twisting corridors of brain. To both writers their subjects were victims almost of their own choosing, but s t i l l victims of their mechanical environments, and their writing carries the suggestion to the reader that some positive change must be introduced into these humdrum existences through strong social action bya l l responsible individuals.  Louis Dudek's poem "Looking at Steno-  graphers" i s in the same vein as Page and Scott's work. In this selection Dudek describes the office workers as: Product of their dactylo, they are like their stamped paper. They keep covered their eyes and brain, Tomorrow they w i l l drink tea i n another place Swallow their freedom whole; and they w i l l chatter about their boys; But a l l week and a l l year They die i n gossamer cages their f r a i l minds can never break That once might have broken steel and stone. ° His  imagery runs closely parallel with Page's as he presents similar pic-  tures of stultified, petrified human potential, human lives that i f properly nurtured by love and shared experiences, would have been strong and active.  Typists, bank strikers, salt miners, dreamers, children and  youths are the victims of social repression in Page's work. The waste of potential i s of great concern to her.  The only hope for the future lies  through the emergence from the isolation of the self into the awareness of the self and a l l must make the effort to attain some degree of selfknowledge. As she writes i n "Journey", You may be box-car baggage or begonia, porter with epaulettes and moon for navel; the way i s water—colour to the station, the stop i s limbo.  Poems like "Waking" with i t s i n v a l i d " who lies "dreaming of love/and M  the crying cities of Europe" show Page's belief that war can provide a bitter path to ax^areness and understanding of one's self and of others. In an image of dawn, the subject of the poem opens his "bandaged eyes to the Shape of Asia".  In "Poem", the poet contrasts the innocence of a  monastery garden with the violence of a world at war when she writes: Let us stand here close, for death i s common as grass beyond an ocean and, with a l l Europe pricking, in our eyes, suddenly remember Guernica and be gone. In the immediacy of the war situation the individual who i s of necessity involved with his world must act. The moment of cloistered sanctuary i s only that, a moment, and i t cannot last i f the desired social change for a l l i s to come. Miss Page i s speaking of the youth of her own age in "Generation" and of the results of growing through adolescence in a war torn world. The tragedy of such a youth shows - "We were an ignored and undeclared ultimatum of solid children . . .  on the wooded lands/our childhood games  grew real; theopolice and robbers/held unsmiling faces against each other . . . knew l»ove r o l l from a bolt". But this war generation did grow into a global community of feeling as the war broadened youth's perspective, even i f i t did not alter their ingrown prejudices: Now we touch continents with our l i t t l e fingers, swim distant seas and walk on foreign streets wearing crash helmets of permanent beliefs. Youth in her work i s shown to indirectly benefit from war, the "Old Man" only loses.  Uprooted from his safe past in France, this  immigrant has been forced into a strange new country, one that in his eyes i s a pale reflection of the Europe and the yesterday for which he longs: Now in his green-legged trousers and here where he had never wished to be, i n this new this north land with a foreign people he cannot know he walks the wild bewildering woods alone wearing a sweater found a decade ago high up among the gentians near the snow . » . • . . • • « « « • • * He hates this pallid place and dreams of a bright-green future in the past. P, K. Page sets her primary value on freedom for the individual and universality in the conflict of restraint opposing freedom. The poems and prose selections inspired by a personal sense of social consciousness focus on the idea and dream that through a new trust and faith in humanity, individuals can break the bonds of isolation and find a higher quality of l i f e .  This presentation of the basic conflict of oppo-  sites i s a further refinement of the contraposition of solitude with multitude, but the poet looks further and wider into society to focus on groups of individuals, and on nations of people, and on the human communi t y in her perception of the universal drive of man to be free.  FOOTNOTES - CHAPTER 3  John Sutherland, op. c i t . , p.23. 2  John Sutherland, letter to the editor in Canadian Forum (19^7),  17. 3R. E. Rashley, Poetry in Canada, p.136. ^Bodkin, op. c i t . , pp.318-319. ^P. K. Page, "Questions and Images", p.18. ^Northrop Frye, Literary History of Canada, pp.840-842. 7  Frye, ibid., pp.833-83 K  8  Frye, ibid., p.770.  z  ^Wynne Francis, "Montreal Poets of the Forties", Choice of Critics, ed. George Woodcock, (Toronto, I966), p.42. •'•Op. K. Page in a recorded conversation to Dorothy Livesay, Dec. I968, printed in an article by C. X. Ringrose, "Patrick Anderson and the Critics", Can. L i t . , XLIII, (1970), p.23. ^Francis, op. c i t . , p.39.  1? 1970.  Fred Cogswell in a letter to Miss Carol Jerusalem, Feb. 20, ^Sutherland, op. c i t . , p.17. 14 F**ye, op. c i t . , p.834. ''"-'Page, "The Stenographers", an article in Preview, Feb. 1943.  1 £1 Louis Dudek, "Looking at Stenographers'.', Northern Review, (Feb.-Mar., 1946).  CHAPTER  THE  IMAGISTIC  CONFLICT  OF  4  STONE AND  FLOWER  Intractable between them grox^s a garden of barbed wire and roses. Burning briars like flames devour their too innocent attire. Dare they meet, the blackened wire tears the intervening a i r . Trespassers have wandered through texture of flesh and petals. Dogs like arrows moved along pathways that their noses knew. While the two who laid i t out find the metal and the flower fatal underfoot. Black and white at midnight glows this garden of barbed wire and roses. Doused with darkness roses burn cooly as a rainy moon; beneath a rany moon or none silver the sheath on barb and thorn. Change the garden, scale and plan; wall i t , make i t annual. There the briary flower grew. There the brambled wire ran. While they sleep the garden grows, deepest wish annuls the w i l l : perfect s t i l l the wire and rose. P. K. Page selected as the t i t l e of her second collection of published poems, the core image of the above poem, the contrast of imagery of the metal and the floxrer.  Throughout her work the strong clash of 84  animate with inanimate i s f e l t - stone with roses, s o i l beneath birds, black opposed to white or green.  A study of this imagistic tension does  not reveal a 'one to one' relationship.  Miss Page's metaphoric meaning  of her recurring image patterns shifts from poem to story to novel. Generally the imagery of organic natural growth i s used symboli c a l l y for the powers of v i t a l i t y , of the l i f e force;  and the power of  inertia, of stagnation, of isolation i s symbolized by the images of metal, stone or rock.  This imagistic contraposition i s thus related to  the other conflicts of opposites in Page's writing.  As with the con-  f l i c t s of self-insulation opposed by the universality of experience and of love contrasted with the inability of individuals to feel or communicate love, and of restraint and tyranny repressing the desire for freedom, here again a submerged state of awareness like the 'frozen* self, the mine and snow images, i s found in stone and cold metals.  The self-  aware state of experience i s communicated by the poet's presentation of gardens, flowers, chlorophyll green growth and the sun's warmth and light.  This metal-flower conflict evolves into archetypal antipathies  of Paradise and Hades, of heaven and h e l l .  "It i s as though the poet's  feeling divined the relation of the concepts of Heaven and Hell to the images of spring's beauty and of the darkness under the earth  . .  The descent from sunlit gardens above to the dark caverns below takes the form of Freud's Nirvana principle or the f i r s t phase of the Rebirth cycle.  And the renewal of v i t a l i t y , the modulation from stone into  flower, marks the ascent, or f i n a l stage, of Rebirth in the archetypal sense, Maud Bodkin might well have been referring to Miss Page and not just to D, H. Lawrence when she observed that:  If flow and conflict of opposite feelings i s the distinctive quality of Lawrence's imagined world, we should expect that those ever-recurring opposites which we have studied in static form under the name of Paradise-Hades, and in transition as the Rebirth archetype, w i l l appear ^ in his work with notable intensity. And so indeed they do. "Photos of a Salt Mine" uses the contrast of white and black images to suggest f i r s t the beauty of the salt cave with i t s angelic, feathery innocence and then, to show the horrible reality of the pit and of the miners "locked in the black inferno of the rock:".  Page shows  the upward thrust from "darkness solid" to the light of knowledge in "Parachutist".  The paradox of this journey i s reflected in the use of  darkness- for the ignorance and innocence of the child, light for the imagined - and yet the hardness of stone for the destination of adulthood.. Then, in a reversal of symbols, the state of childhood i s remembered in the adult mind as a "white" thing. Once more in the poem "Mystics Like Miners", Miss Page i n her imagination sees a relationship between those who mine deep in the earth and those who explore the depths of the mind.  In contrast to  "Photos of  a Salt Mine", the darkness of this cavern seems to hold the truest form of reality and of wisdom. The surface i s "innocent": upon ascension the mystics find: , . . flowers too bright (what saint of painted gold and red, alive, could really wear those colours?) and sky so high, so baby blue a blue-eyed boy alone could bear i t . The organic in counterpoint to the inorganic images and black clashing with green and with white represent in P, K. Page's writing such conf l i c t s as those between the aims of the spirit and the limitations of the boy, freedom and repression, innocence and knowledge, dream and reality, love and loneliness.  At times a surrealistic quality results  in the presentation of this opposition as the organic and the animate i s modified by becoming inorganic and inanimate.  Such a quality is also to  be found in the xtfierd and fantastical intermingling of plant and animal worlds in the black-white drawings P. K. Page has turned to. In an article describing the influence of experiences in Brazil and Mexico on her paintings, Page writes that: Brazil was day, an awakening to myriad colour sounds and sensations. Marmosets in the flowering jungle; bands of multi-coloured birds moving among the branches of the Kapok tree outside the bedroom verandah, orchids in the Kapok tree, cucumbers in the Kapok tree, the whole tree bursting into cotton candy. Flamboyantes in flaming floxrer against the sky as one lay on one's back in the swimming pool. Doric palms waving green plumage, growing antlers and beads. Cerise dragon f l i e s . Butterflies as large as a flying hand and blue bright blue.3 Such association of growth and colour with v i t a l i t y enters the poem "Adolescence".  The lovers are here entwined "in a green embrace"  and "a silken rain f e l l through the spring upon them". In their dream world of love they float on air and water: And white was mixed with a l l their colours As i f they drew i t from the flowering trees. Only the dissolution of their love leaves the green lovers "savage and swift as gulls . . . sharp as partly sculptured stone",  A contrast  between the live bird and the captured, embroidered image in a work of art uses the same imagery of colour and l i f e juxtaposed vdth wire and metal.  A poet, "from her metal eye", cannot catch the spirit of the live  birds in a poem, she can only reproduce the embroidered reproduction in xrords: And for a f i e l d of linnets greening the thistle or a snow of cockatoos upon the mistletoe, nor harlequin rosellas  or magpie domino, she, grown a l l string and wire, a twisted armature would find them hot and light as from her metal eye she saw them in a flight feathered and fiery and feel her wire melt and that small string f r i z z l e to nothing as they went pelting by. Heat, light and colour express v i t a l i t y ;  metal poses the contrast in  perception, in this poem. Three more selections by Page also contain a variation of the imagistic conflict of stone and flower, or metal and the l i f e force:  "Reflection in a Train Window", "The T a l l Suns" and  "Piece for a Formal Garden". Images of Christmas wreaths in homes, of the reflected glow of their warmth on eyes, hair and heart of the train traveller, blend and dissolve into a reflection of "brass and brick" and of frost on glass in the poem "Reflection in a Train Window". The poet's imagery symbolizes the clash between loneliness and the warmth of belonging for the individual.  This contrast i s further developed into the universal conflict  of the inner self with i t s outward reflection or form.  As in many of  Page's poems, the basic dichotomy i s glimpsed obliquely through mirrors, glass, silver objects such as ice, curtains or water and such i s true of this particular selection. Colour i s more deliberately introduced by the poet.  In "The T a l l  Suns", Miss Page employs a baroque manner with swirls of green, red, silver, black, brass, blood, sun, moon and star light. This windy season blows your springtime-in. Brings in a swirl of green your embroidered self:  t a l l suns and sunflowers spin upon a s t r i n g . As with the woman i n "Reflection i n a Train Window", Page, i n t h i s page also t i t l e d "Green L i t t l e Corn" i n The Metal and The Flower, reveals the surface and the depths of an i n d i v i d u a l personality through the contrast of imagery.  The outer s h e l l of the s e l f i s the "embroidered  of springtime.  self" f u l l  But theoobserver gradually notes that the surface view  of t h i s i n d i v i d u a l masks a dark inner personality: You were a high queen high-stepping, carrying a stone mountain as i f i t were a cape. And you spoke only of darkness Out of your tomb with swans. yet I could not believe so dark a night was spawning i n a mouth red as a dog's yawn.  For a l l your brass r e f l e c t e d the t a l l suns of the season of green corn and I saw above your battlement of stone Orion— g l i t t e r i n g scabbard at h i s groin. As the outer masks hide the cold and i n s u l a r inner s e l f , so the images of natural l i f e and growth cover the stone core of the i n d i v i d u a l Page presents i n the poem. for  Such a c o n f l i c t of opposites i s also present i n "Piece  a Formal Garden", a poem i n which again one sees Page's i s o l a t e d s e l f  as "the stone cold p r o f i l e . . . trembling l i k e roses" i n a wish t o be " a l i v e " , t o f e e l and to express emotions. In the formal garden as the dark f a l l s her paleness l i k e a n i g h t l i g h t glows over a l l . She with p r o f i l e only  face that cannot kiss i s a broken marble i n h i s embrace. The underlying conceit i n the poem r e s u l t s from the imposed i n t e r r e l a t i o n ship of the human with the stone statue.  In t h i s formal garden only the  sculptured f i g u r e i s " i r r e g u l a r " , a broken marble ruin of a v i t a l i n d i v idual.  A beauty does exist i n her i r r e g u l a r i t y , i n her "exquisite chipped  elbow", and i n her pale r e f l e c t i o n which glows through the darkness of the garden setting.  But the human statue i s unable t o shatter the stone  casing i n which she finds h e r s e l f .  The coldness of the marble clashes  with the warmth of an embrace and k i s s :  the "stone cold p r o f i l e " i s l e f t  at the end of the poem " i n the shaken silence . . . /trembling l i k e roses". This statue i s i n one way an inversion of the high-stepping "queen" i n "The T a l l Suns" - exterior i s stone, i n t e r i o r i s flowers. Death i s stone, l i f e , flowers i n Page's "Mineral".  To the l i v i n g  woman i n t h i s poem, her dead love i s only "mineral" i n her memory: . . . In a game she would declare him mineral without thinking; mineral h i s going and his having gone and on her desk, h i s photo—mineral. No gentle mirage loves her as a dream can love a person's head, no memory comes warm and w i l l i n g t o her tears. She walks nearly begonia between the walls, Death i n the poem i s r e a l and so i s the "cold touch, sharp taste of stone" to  the l i v i n g "begonia" woman.  This same image of l i f e and death i s  present i n "Paranoid" who as a c h i l d walked on flowered paths and basked i n mother's love.  Flowering youth and the early pleasures of the c h i l d  were once the preserve of Page's i n d i v i d u a l i n "Elegy" who, . . . white and sewn with scarlet once, walked giddy with gold In both of these poems the human figures have retreated within themselves  and are engulfed in a darkness.  The paranoic individual has become a  cold stone celestial body whirling in a void.  The elegized man  has  suffered a "black haemorrhage". For him, sunlight has become inky night, his v i t a l i t y , a "green tree", has fossilized into coal.  Stones, as  "cockle shells", l i t t e r Alice's garden and the world-wise children of "The Glass Air" have become twin stone giants alone in a wasteland of lost innocence. The descent from the sunlit garden to the cavern is complete in these selections. But Page, through her duality of perception, also represents a vision of rebirth in stone-flower imagery.  From a " f o s s i l  frame" of frozen lungs and brain, old man winter thaws into "Spring": and a l l that he had clutched, held tightly locked behind that f o s s i l frame dissolves, flows free in saffron covering the willow tree and coloured rivers of the rockery u n t i l he is the garden—heart, the sun and a l l his body s o i l . The moment of rebirth in this poem occurs when "something rare and perfect, yet unknown, stirs like a foetus just behind his eyes".  In her  own words Page expressed her wish to show that the rebirth phase of the cycle of l i f e was evident in her work. She wrote in "Questions and Images" that she f e l t . . . "grateful for the shocks.  The conditioning  process which turns live tissue into f o s s i l is arrested by the earthquake.  Even buried strata may be exposed".  Such a comment reinforces  Miss Page's attitude to her subjects in her writing. conflict of opposites in themes and imagery.  She has presented  Yet her primary concern  remains that the need for communal experience is greater than the negative desire for self-isolation from reality; than pity;  that love is more sustaining  that freedom is preferable to indifferent authority;  that the  search for beauty and truth must overcome fear and horror in the lives of individuals.  Her beliefs as poet are simple and rooted in the fundamental  desires and values of a l l people.  Her poems and prose have developed from  the romantic 'I' of the subjective spectator who, as in The Sun and The Moon and some of her early poems of unhappy love, asserts the theme of separateness - an escape from the actual world of men into the overly protected world of nature.  Rather than face the crisis of assimilation  with others, Miss Page's subjects were like 'moons riding out a storm far above the wind-blown clouds.  1  Her ideas became more topical as her  association with the Preview poets deepened. She has come f u l l circle from dwelling on pathological states in individuals and the disruptive aspects of imagination to a more integrative, more expansive and less cryptic art form - to a more positive identification with others and thus a greater universality of outlook and appeal.5 In 1967, after thirteen years of poetic silence, Cry Ararat! was published.  The collection included poems from the other published works  of Page as well as new unpublished version from the poet's v i s i t s in Australia, Brazil and Mexico.  Bounded by a black on white etching and  its inversion on the back cover, the volume is a unified presentation of Page's poetic merit.  It gives one an insight into s t i l l other conflicts  of opposites in her work - that of the relationship between time and r i t u a l and the Rebirth archetype, and that between the subjective perception of the involved poet and her desire to gain a greater objective distance from her work.  FOOTNOTES - CHAPTER 4  Maud Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns in Poetry, p.94. 2  Ibid., p.286.  ^P. K. Page, "Questions and Images", p . 1 7 . ^Ibid., p . 2 1 ^David M. Hayne, Review of Cry Ararat! in Letters i n Canada: UTQ, (1967), p.367.  CHAPTER  CONFLICT  OF WITH  5  SUBJECTIVITY POETIC  OF  PERCEPTION  OBJECTIVITY  Whereas Miss Page, the poet, has built a solid literary reputation based on few and widely spaced collections and stories, P. K. Irwin, the painter, has experienced electric growth as an artist.  Anne Francis in  her article "P.K." in Canadian Art 1963 noted that "Her /PageJ subjective eye is the same whether she expresses herself in words or in water colours, drawings, crayons, and etchings".  Again, a newspaper review of The Metal  and The Flower remarked that the poet's pen ". . . is an engraving tool  2 not a brush".  This interrelationship of art and literature in approach  is reinforced by Miss Francis quotation of Robert Weaver's remarks con1  cerning Page's poetry, a remark she feels could equally apply to Page's art: Her poetry has always had plenty of brilliance, i t moves, i t glitters, i t spins i t s e l f out suddenly and nervously. She has been sensitive to the techniques and the ideas which have been disturbing modern poets in other countries. But her poetry has her own voice—intense, solitary, even sombre . . . In this same article there is a comment by a c r i t i c of the Mexican publication, Tiempo, about Page's paintings. directly to her writing:  This in turn could relate  She has philosophical imagination and a meditative approach to her subject matter. Her colour is beautiful, sometimes b r i l l i a n t , but never harsh. Her paintings are impregnated with an atmosphere that i s feminine delicate and ethereal. Her crayons, inks, drawings, etchings, temperas and water colours reveal that she understands various techniques and cultivates them with understanding and she puts her seal of originality on each one. She is master of her craft. To one c r i t i c a reflection of "her own voice", to the other a "seal of originality", to both a uniqueness that distinguishes the approach and technique of the artist.  P. K. Irwin was to explain her own perception  of the interrelationship of the two media of her art: Michaux's reply, when asked why he had stopped writing poetry, serves very well for me: "It becomes impossible to keep writing I I I a l l the time". This is one of a hundred possible reasons. As to why I began to draw— there must be one hundred reasons for that too. I don't suppose I knew before I began that drawing is the perfect medium for metaphor. But i t i s . For my kind of a poet, my kind of drawing seems inevitable. It's the same pen. and in another personal interview Page replied to the same question as to why she had stopped writing poetry with, "I didn't stop.  It did,  I  could find no vocabulary for a baroque world".^ The story behind her beginnings as an artist parallels her development as a poet.  It appears that while in Rio de Janeiro she resorted  to "doodling" to compensate for a lack of proficiency in Portuguese in explaining a situation to a servant at the Canadian Embassy.  This  doodling sprouted, her husband f e l t the creative spark was in evidence and provided "a stack of beautiful, white drawing paper".  Her f i r s t  attempts set stark black heavy lines on white, a repetition of much of her earliest writing. An overview of prints of some of her work in Tamarack Review i960, Canadian Art I963 and the pages of Cry Ararat1 reveals the i n t r i cate fine detail of the etchings.  Wild imaginings, like woods alive at  night, or gardens "barbed wire and roses" growing "Black and white at midnight, "are f i l l e d with strange supernatural creatures.  Lurking behind  plant like, their eyes alone penetrate the. blinds as i n Night Garden and In the Wake.  Human forms are noticeably absent from the drawings - the  focus i s on nature and on grotesque amorphous creatures like the -one in And you, What do you Seek?  that occupies the covers of Cry Ararat1 Suns  and moons f i l l the rather empty, skies; portrayed in Labyrinth and Dark Keyhole.  dark cavernous retreats are There i s even the "Paranoid's"  whirling Cosmos and a reproduction entitled The Glass-House that resembles the atmosphere of The Sun and The Moon. The creative tension resulting from the juxtaposition of opposing forces or strains of thought i s as present in this art form as in her literary efforts. The artist has progressed technically from f e l t pen to s t i l o and India ink then to soft pastel wax crayons.  First came black-white inter-  relationships, then colour entered her canvases.  "I found I could do  wonderful things by putting layers and layers of crayons, to get depth g of colour, and then cutting into them with a sharp instrument". A further s t y l i s t i c evolvement came in using egg tempera "because there i s o l i f e in wood compared with the deadness of paper and canvas". Her poem "Bark Drawing" encompasses an Australian "landscape with serifs": singularly sharp each emu Kangaroo and goanna intaglio on the bark of this continent look i n i t s rivers fish swim by in skeleton fine-boned as a comb  while pin-figured men string thin are dancing or hunting Here the keen edge of the poet's stylo cuts into wood to expose in relief the  fineness of skeletal figures in a poetic world.  A l l are reed-thin^,.,  sharp and clear. In another poem, "Cook's Mountains", Miss Page draws in words an image of the. Glass House Mountains echoing her pictorial vista in the painting The Glass House.  The mountains are "surrealist, conical" rising  from the rain forest i n the same manner as D. H. Lawrence symbolically employs the image of the mountain height towering above the plain.  Bod-  kin finds special significance in Lawrence's work in the image of the mountain height, as conveying the contrast between the aims of the spirit and  limitations of bodily l i f e . . . always with the suggestion of inter-  play and conflict.  The l i f e of the body down in the hot plain or valley  is challenged, even embittered, by the allurement or menace, in the mountain height.^ In Page's work, the mountains are above and apart from the two human observers below in Queensland. These mountains are, Like mounds of mica Live-shaped hothouses, Mountains of mirror glimmering they form in diamond panes behind the tree ferns of the dark imagination The spell cast by the shimmering image of the mountains i s shattered by the  conflicting force of human imposition on the visual image: The driver said, "Those are the Glass House Mountains up ahead". And instantly they altered to become the sum of shape and name. Two strangenesses united into one more strange than either.  N e i t h e r of us now remembers how t h e y l o o k e d b e f o r e t h e y broke the l i g h t t o fragments as the d r i v e r spoke. The  egg tempera p a i n t i n g The G l a s s House p r e s e n t s  tension.  An  a s i m i l a r view of  e x o t i c j u n g l e of sharp interwoven l i n e - i m a g e s  dense f o r e s t undergrowth t h a t peaks towards a c e l e s t i a l sky  suggests a floating  above the crowded e a r t h , serene and u n c l u t t e r e d w i t h o n l y a new and  a s c a t t e r i n g of s t a r s i n i t .  e t c h i n g seem t o p a r a l l e l the  moon  The b r i t t l e n e s s of the shapes i n t h i s  ' g l a s s ' atmosphere of her poem "Cook's  Mountains". A g a i n t h e a r t i s t i s at work i n " A f t e r R a i n " , The words.  Night Garden i n  Page i n t h e p o e t i c garden observes t h a t , The s n a i l s have made a garden of green l a c e : b r o d e r i e a n g l a i s e from t h e cabbages, c h a n t i l l y from t h e c h o u x - f l e u r s , t i n y v e i l s — garden a b s t r a c t e d , geometry a w a s h — an unknown theorem argued i n green i n k , dropped i n t h e b a t h , E u c l i d i n g l o r i o u s c h l o r o p h y l l , h a l f drunk.  The  Night Garden, an i l l u s t r a t i o n from Cry A r a r a t t , r e c r e a t e s i n b l a c k  and w h i t e a s i m i l a r e e r i e n e s s and d e l i c a t e wet resentation.  t r a c e r y of her p o e t i c r e p -  W i l d f r e e hand f l o w e r s s p r o u t i n p r o f u s i o n i n t h i s  garden as i f through the i n f l u e n c e of moonlight The  night  alone;  i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of imagery and theme of the two media i s  f u r t h e r observed i n Page's p a i n t i n g , a g a i n found i n Cry A r a r a t ! , In t h e Wake.  entitled  On a dark background, white t r a c i n g s s w i r l i n g r e a t waves,  l i k e the o b j e c t s i n Page's poem, "Blowing". E v e r y t h i n g blows upon t h i s  hillside:  o l d s h e l l s of ground b i r d s — t h e s e t h e i r f i r s t bones c a s t — are t o s s e d by wind. On b o t t l e b r u s h and  thistle  wool blows spun thin and glistening in the sun And blow the mushrooms grown light as featherweight that sprang up overnight outcropping firm and white now blown like thistledown. Birthbone and flesh become light. The parallel i s strong between the artistic and the poetic development of Page. Then in 196?, with the publication of Cry Ararat1, P. K. Page introduced her new poems - works that reflect personal experiences and impressions she gleaned while aborad in Australia, Brazil and Mexico. The book, with i t s blend of old and new selections, further reveals the poet's presentation of the conflict of opposites in theme and imagery that she has concerned herself with since her earliest writings. The imprint of Mexico on her imagination was of "images of darkness . . . /Jiovering/ i - the Mexican sunlight . . . Death and the old n  gods . . . Temples to the Sun.  Temples to the Moon . . . Objects dis-  solved into their symbols . . . In the rain forest stood the bone-white 11 ruins of buildings  tangible remains of a whole mythology."  For Page, the presence of man's rituals, his ordered patterns of motion and behaviour, provided the "time eternal" element of the conf l i c t in her writing, that force which could overcome the temporal "time passing" aspect of human existence where death remains a f i n a l i t y . She wrote of Mexican villages that: . . . seemed unchanged since the beginning of time. The same adobe huts, the same fields of maize, the same ancient  language of clicking consonants, and surely the same gods. Gods hungry for human blood. (Too much Lowry and Lawrence?) The plazas of Catholic churches were stages for the old rituals of costumed dances, stamped out to the music of conch shell and drum. In Oaxaca the women of Yalalag wear triple crosses which led Cortes' priests to the mistaken belief that Christian missionaries had preceded them. Oaxacans perhaps understand the symbolism of the cross: time passing, time eternal "the intersection of this world with eternity". The relationship of time, death and eternity i s shown in the poem "Dark Kingdom". The " I " of the poem, i s a microcosmic world, a temporal object in comparison with the vastness and permanence of the "giddying zodiac* : Pinned to a turning sphere I know not up nor down. I dizzy as I stare. Wheeling round a point that drives me through and through the very stars grow faint. Such blacknesses abound I know not in nor out. 0 Shadow, take my hand. Death comes to this individual " I " - "though I drown". The enlarging swoops in vast space present a vivid image of encroaching death: yet there i s s t i l l a continuance of l i f e , the "crowned Hermaphrodite", the union of male and female in one form.. In "T-Bar", a cyclic pattern of "time passing" revolves in opposition to the linear dissection of the cycle by the limitations of human life.  The " r i t u a l " in this poem i s the procession of paired skiers  ascending the mountainside on the T-bar cable.  Page calls them "wards  of eternity" who, . . . mount the easy vertical ascent, pass through successive arches, bride and groom, as through successive naves, are newly wed participants in some recurring dream.  So do they move forever. Clocks are broken. In zones of silence they grow t a l l and slow, inanimate dreamers, mild and gentle-spoken, blood brothers of the haemophilic snow u n t i l the summit breaks and they awaken imagos from the structure of the tow. "Time temporal" i s the sudden release of the skiers at the top.  The pair  is jerked apart, torn from their dream "chrysalis", Uncertain, lost, upon a wintry height there two not separate yet no longer one. Dream clashes with reality, sleep with motion, innocence with pain, ignorance with awareness, captivity with freedom and eternity with limitation. "But clocks begin to peck and sing  ..."  Though the individual pattern changes as the skiers are released, the rhythm of the descent and ascent of the T-bars i s constant: . . . obdurate and slow the spastic T-bars pivot and descend. The circle is not broken, the whole i s not fragmented by i t s parts, and motion i s contrasted with stillness. Miss Page perceived this tension of r i t u a l with time when she recounted: Coming as I do from a random or whim-oriented culture, this recurrence and interrelating of symbols into an ordered and significant pattern prevalent too in the folk arts of pottery and weaving was curiously illuminating. One did not feel restricted by the enclosed form of the 'design' ; rather, one was liberated into something life-giving and larger. I could now begin to understand how "the l i t t l e world i s created according to the prototype of the great world . . . Poetry was more than ever now in the perceiving." ^ A pattern of Rebirth, related to man's rituals, has symbolic meaning in certain of Page's work. She speaks of a personal rebirth in her art - that just as Brazil was "day", and Mexico "night", her return to Canada should be the "start of a new day".  14  Bodkin's interpretation of  the cycle of Rebirth as i t i s often found in literature i s ". . . f u l l of  the rhythm- of the rebirth of organic l i f e — o f the falling back into darkness and stupor, and through some mystery of dissolution, wakening to a l i f e new tender and vulnerable, 'as a flower then unsheaths i t s e l f " . 1  J  "Waking" and "Spring" evidence this renewal through their imagery. Also, in the story The Woman, a traveller retreats into the country sanctuary of his hotel room, "a small place where there were fewer people to stare".  His deformed "favoured" arm throbs with pain  during a night of dream and confusion, shattered by a form of communication with the woman, a piercing scream.  "Not u n t i l the sun burst f u l l  upon his face did he waken. And he wakened f u l l of the woman, wanting to see her".  Through a shared empathy, the traveller i s rejuvenated by his  stay at the l i t t l e hotel and leaves, f u l f i l l e d .  Weekend—West Coast also  concludes with a sense of rebirth for the island observers. The journey is one from the v i t a l i t y of l i f e on the mainland, across to the island 'Hades' - a deceptive facade harbouring decay and degeneration - back out of this contagion to the mainland after a 'rebirth' of awareness of the true nature of the people on this island. But i t i s in Page's t i t l e poem "Cry Ararat!" that the most striking image of Rebirth occurs. The opening lines present a series of imagistic paradoxes: In the dream the mountain near but without sound. A dream through binoculars seen sharp and clear: the leaves moving,"turning in a far wind no ear can hear. Only in the dream i s one f u l l y 'alive' : Then w i l l each leaf and flower each bird and animal become as perfect as  the thing i t s name evoked . . . and Flowers more real than flowers grew vivid and immense; So f l i e s and blows the dream embracing like a sea a l l that in i t swims when dreaming, you desire and ask for nothing more than stillness to receive the I-am animal, the We-are leaf and flower, the distant mountain near. So f l i e s and blows the dream that haunts us when we wake to the unreality of bright day: Like the poem "Mystics", the daylight is too harsh, too unreal and i t is the dream world that backons. Page imagines that power and freedom reside in the dream. The bird, or dreamer, finds "air a perfect f i t " , But this my grief that with the next tentative l i f t of my indescribable wings the ceiling looms heavy as a tomb. To be awake is to be as i f dead, for one fears not being able to dream again: The vision of the flight i t imitates burns brightly in my head as i f a star rushed down to touch me where I stub against What must forever be my underground. The poet in her wisdom, counsels that i f these are our fears, we must overcome them and "Cry Ararat!".  One must remove the " f i l t e r of subject-  i v i t y " placed over reality and realize the potential in being aware, of being awake, to notice "the wild flowers blowing where we pass,/this flora-fauna flotsam, pick and touch,/require the focus of the total I". It is as i f the dove's olive twig, like the 'golden bough' of  mythology has the power to lead the fearful dreamers from their dream caves up into the beauty of the surface world.  "Ararat" becomes a symbol  of the power of regeneration and of the unity of a l l l i f e . A single leaf can block a mountainside; a l l Ararat be conjured by a leaf. Page appears to be saying that one can see the whole in i t s parts i f one w i l l only look closely.  The problem of vision is one of focus - to pro-  gress from the opaque distortion of seeing through water, to the translucent image one glimpses through frosted glass, to direct perception through a i r . The closing couplet reflects P. K. Page's belief, evident in the totality of her literature, that Ararat, the hope and new beginning for man, can be found in the individual l i f e , as in the single leaf. essence of i t s truth must be d i s t i l l e d .  The  The poet often f e l t confronted  with the question, "Which is the mask and which the self?"  Her struggle  with the distortion of subjective perception is a constant one, an attempt to see beyond and beneath the surface of her subject into the clear objectivity of being.  The creation of unique and startling conceits has  not deflected her from this main purpose. In a newspaper review of Page's poetry, Earle Birney wrote that "her poetry has an X-ray trick of penetrating beyond the surfaces of both 16 substance and of manner into the matrix of her theme". truthfully be called "a trick" is very doubtful.  Whether i t can  However, Page in "Ques-  tions and Images" reveals her aim when she writes: "See how he who thinks himself one is not one, but seems to have as many personalities as he has moods". Understand that thou thyself art even another l i t t l e world, and hast within thee sun and and the moon, and also the stars  I began t o suspect, i n what would once have been nearheresy, that drawing and writing were not only ends i n themselves, as I had previously thought, but possibly the means t o an end which I could barely imagine— a method, perhaps, of tracing the 'small design'. ? The c o n f l i c t of opposites f o r P. K. Page has ranged from i s o l a t i o n opposed t o solitude, t o r e s t r a i n t imposed on freedom, t o the imagistic clash of stone with flower, of i n e r t i a with v i t a l i t y , t o r i t u a l surmounting time, t o r e b i r t h conquering death and t o s u b j e c t i v i t y being displaced by objective  perception.  18 "For the time being my primary concern i s t o remove the f i l t e r s " The c o n f l i c t s of opposites are a l l one and the same - a clash between the individual's desire f o r t r u t h , f o r beauty, f o r freedom and f o r love, and those forces within and without that would prevent him attaining his  goal.  A struggle f o r personal freedom - part of P. K. Page's own  poetic development.  Her goal i s t o see things f o r what they are.  To  uncover c l e a r pictures undistorted by f i l t e r s of romance, f i l t e r s of innocence or g u i l t , f i l t e r s of s o c i a l Tightness - t o go "through to the area behind the eyes/where s i l e n t unrefractive whiteness l i e s " .  FOOTNOTES - CHAPTER 5  A  Anne Francis, /pseud./, "P.K." i n Canadian A r t , XX, (Jan.-  Feb., 1963), kZ. 2  Anonymous review of The Metal and The Flower, Hamilton Spect a t o r , Dec. 11, 195^. ^Robert Weaver, quoted i n Anne F r a n c i s  1  a r t i c l e , p.42.  \"rancis, op. c i t . , p.42 -*P. K. Irwin, quoted i n Tamarack Review, (Spring, i960), p.49, ^Francis, op. c i t . , p.44.  7lbid. 8  I b i d . , p.45.  9  Ibid.  ^ B o d k i n , op. c i t . , p.285. Upage, "Questions and Images", p.19 l 2  Ibid.  1 3  Ibid.,  pp.19-20.  %bid. ^•^Bodkin, op. c i t . , p.286. ^ E a r l e Birney i n a review of As Ten As Twenty i n Globe and Mail, Nov. 8, 1950. •^Page, op. c i t . , p.20 1 8  Ibid.  WORKS CONSULTED  Primary Sources  Page, Patricia Kathleen. As Ten As Twenty. Toronto, 1946. ,  Cry AraratI. Toronto, I 9 6 7 .  .  Leisure Class.  .  Miracles.  .  "Questions and Images", Canadian Literature XLIV, (Summer  Preview, (Dec. 19^-3).  Preview, (May 1944).  19690, 1 7 - 2 2 .  .  The Green Bird.  Canadian Short Stories.  Robert Weaver, ed.,1:  London, I 9 6 0 , 313-318.  Preview, (Nov. 1 9 4 2 ) .  .  The Resignation.  ,  The Rat Hunt.  .  The Sun and The Moon. Toronto, 1944.  , ,  The Woman. Here and Now I, ( 1 9 4 7 ) , 36-38. Them Ducks. Preview. (Mar. 1945).  .  Under Cover of Night.  .  Weekend—West Coast.  Preview, (Aug. 1 9 4 3 ) .  Preview, (Dec. 1 9 4 3 ) . Northern Review I, ( 1 9 4 6 ) , 28-32.  Following magazines consulted where poems unpublished in book form appear: Canadian Forum  ,  Canadian Poetry Magazine Contemporary Verse  Here and  Mow  Northern Review Poetry  (Chicago)  Previex-f Saturday Night Tamarack Reviexj  Secondary  Sources  Books:-  Anderson, P a t r i c k . and S p a i n ,  S e a r c h Me. Autobiography—The London,1957•  Bodkin, Maud. A r c h e t y p a l P a t t e r n s i n P o e t r y . I m a g i n a t i o n . New "York, 1958. Dudek, L o u i s , and Gnarowski, M i c h a e l , Canada. T o r o n t o , 1967. Dudek, L o u i s , ed. Frye, Northrop, ,  P s y c h o l o g i c a l S t u d i e s of  Toronto,  Anatomy o f C r i t i c i s m . New  New  York,  I966, 1957.  York, I963.  Graham, P e t e r .  A D i c t i o n a r y of t h e Cinema.  Green, Hannah.  I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.  Gustafson, Ralph.  A n t h o l o g y of Canadian  Hambleton, Ronald, ed.  U n i t of F i v e .  K l i n c k , C a r l F., and W a i t e r s , R. E .  Canada  The Making of Modern P o e t r y i n  P o e t r y of Our Time.  F a b l e s of I d e n t i t y .  B l a c k Country,  1964,  London,  Poetry.  Toronto,  New  York,  Toronto,  1964.  1942.  1944.  Canadian A n t h o l o g y .  Toronto,  1955.  K l i n c k , C. F., and Conron, B., S y l v e s t r e , G, Canadiens. Toronto, 1964.  Canadian W r i t e r s / E c r i v a n s  MacLeish, A r c h i b a l d .  Baltimore,  Pacey, Desmond, ed. ,  P o e t r y and E x p e r i e n c e . Canadian  Stories.  C r e a t i v e W r i t i n g i n Canada.  Toronto,  1947.  Toronto,  I962,  1964,  Essays i n Canadian C r i t i c i s m , 1938-1968.  Pacey, Desmond. Rashley, R. E.  Poetry i n Canada.  Smith, A. J . M., .  ed.  Toronto,  Masks of Poetry.  1958.  Toronto, 1962.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse,  Stevens, Peter.  The M c G i l l Movement.  Woodcock, George.  Toronto, I 9 6 9 .  Toronto,  Toronto, I 9 6 0 .  I969.  Toronto, I966.  A Choice of C r i t i c s .  A r t i c l e s i n Periodicals  A. R. B.  "P. K. Page—The Metal and The Flower", i n Dalhousie Review, XXXV, (Spring 1 9 5 5 ) , 9 6 - 9 8 .  Birney, Earle. "Review of As Ten As Twenty", Canadian Poetry Magazine, XX, (Dec. 1 9 4 6 ) , 4>4in Brown, E. K. "Review of As Ten As Twenty", University of Toronto Quart e r l y , Letters i n Canada XVI, ( A p r i l 1 9 4 - 7 ) , 2 4 9 - 2 5 0 . Cogswell, Fred. (Nov.  "The Metal and The Flower Review", The Fiddlehead, XXVI,  1955),  Dudek, Louis.  28-30.  "Montreal Poets", Culture, XVIII, (June 1 9 5 7 ) ,  Francis, Anne, (Mrs. John B i r d ) . 1963),  "P.K.!, Canadian A r t , XX 1  14-9-154.  (Jan.-Feb.  42-45.  Francis, Wynne.  (1962),  "Montreal Poets of the F o r t i e s " , Canadian L i t e r a t u r e, 21-34.  Frye, Northrop. "Review of The Metal and The Flower", Letters i n Canada: 1 9 5 ^ , U.T.Q., XXIV, (Apr. 1 9 5 5 ) , 2 5 1 - 2 5 2 . Hayne, David M. (Apr.  "Review of Cry Ararat!", Letters i n Canada:  Livesay, Dorothy. 19^),  I967,  U.T.Q.,  1967).  "This Canadian Poetry", Canadian Forum XXIV, (Apr.  20-21.  McClure, M i l l a r .  "Poets i n Review", Canadian Forum, XXXV, (May,  1955),  31-32.  Nims, John F. 1945),  "Five Young Canadian Poets", Poetry, (Chicago), VI, (Sept. 33^-3^.  Ringrose, Christopher X. "Patrick Anderson and the C r i t i c s " , L i t e r a t u r e , XLIII, (Winter 1 9 7 0 ) .  Canadian  Shaw, N e u f v i l l e . "The Poetry of P. K, Page", Educational Record (Quebec), LVIV, (July-Sept. 1948), 152-156. Smith, A. J . M.  "New  Canadian Poetry", Canadian Forum, XXVII, (Feb. 1947),  250-255. Sutherland, John.  "The Poetry of P. K. Page", Northern Review I, (1947),  13-23. Wilson, Milton. "Other Canadians and A f t e r " , Masks of Poetry, A. J . M. Smith, ed., Toronto, 1968. Woodcock, George.  "Review of The Metal and The Flower", Queen's Quar-  t e r l y , LVII, (1955-1956), 113.  Microfilms, l e t t e r s , newspapers  Microfilm of issues of Preview from 1942 to 1945 held by McGill University. Cogswell, Fred.  1970.  Information i n a l e t t e r to Miss Carol Jerusalem, Feb. 20,  Globe and Mail - Dec. 7, 1946 (Chas. Bruce) Nov. 8, 1950 (Earle Birney) Feb.19, 1955 (Vernal House) Hamilton Spectator - Dec. 11, 1954 (Anon.)  Lectures  Layton-, Irving. Information i n a lecture given by the poet at York University, Dec. 6, I969.  


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