Poetry is the voice of the soul,
whispering, celebrating,
singing even.

~  Carolyn Forche



P K Page (1916-2010) continued to write and paint into her 90’s. A highly regarded Canadian poet, she was awarded the Governor General’s literary award for poetry early in her career and published more than 20 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her poetry books include Planet Earth, The Essential P K Page, Coal and Roses, and Hand Luggage: A Memoir in Verse.

Under her married name, P K Irwin, she exhibited paintings internationally, her work being represented in the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

A biography of P K Page will appear this fall — Journey with No Maps,  and she is featured in a videography by the National Film Board — Still Waters.

Reflecting on Old Age

In my talks on aging with spirit, I often recite the late life poem, “The Selves” where P K Page presents the frail old self:

Every other day I am an invalid.
Lie back among the pillows and white sheets
lackadaisical! O lackadaisical.

And the magnificent old self:

Every other other day I am as fit
as planets circling.
I brush my hair into a golden sun

And the third self seeking its authentic voice:

Somewhere in between the two,
a third wishes to speak


Arts-Based Education Fosters Personhood in Dementia

Kathleen Downie, University of Toronto, recently completed an innovative master’s thesis project providing painting lessons to people living with moderate to advanced dementia.  In addition to some wonderful art, qualitative findings indicated benefits in skills acquisition (learning!), communication, and self esteem.

Some useful guidelines for small group, individualized painting lessons without caregivers emerged from the project:

Painting Lessons for People with Dementia

When Dementia is in the House

At Baycrest Geriatric Centre in Toronto, Dr. Tiffany Chow and Katherine Nichols have developed valuable resources for parents and teens who have a loved one in the home.  This website provides information to help parents teach their children so they can interact more easily with a grandparent living with dementia and to help teens relate to a grandparent, or even parent, living with dementia in their home.  >>To Read More


Social profit agencies can often put a writer’s talents to good use for creating and editing brochures, websites, blogs, educational materials, and grant applications.  Writers can be especially helpful in translating bureaucratic, academic, or professional jargon into clear everyday language with vivid examples.

Invitation to Tell Your Story

As always, I would appreciate hearing from you about community service activities specifically related to love of language.


Summer is a time to relax (and work) in the garden, attending to the life cycle of emerging, blooming, ripening, and then decay.  Often on a single rose or berry bush we see all the stages at once.

Make a list of 10 words or phrases about roses and a second list for berries. Don’t repeat words but do take note of the many terms that fit on both lists.

Then write about summer joys, using some of the words from each list.


I don’t create poetry;
I create myself, for my poems are a way to me.

~ Edith Sodergran

When you finally get it, there’s no place for it but in a poem.
~ Wu Pen

We are watered by the slightest daily practice
that brings our creativity gently to bloom.

~ Julia Cameron

With my summer rose photo    I bid you adieu,