Pulled from the Pages: Metamorphosis by P. K. Page

Metamorphosis by P. K. Page

If you’ve been following the Porcupine’s Quill at any point in the last ten year’s you’ve probably noticed one of the projects near and dear to our hearts: The Collected Works of P. K. Page.

Porcupine’s Quill and P. K. Page go way back. We published the first volume of her collected poems, The Hidden Room, in 1997, and have since published fifteen of her collections, ranging from poetry to fiction to children’s literature.

Indeed, her literature for and about children is the focus of the most recent addition to the Collected Works of P. K. Page. This handsome volume, Metamorphosis, includes a delightful blend of poetry, fiction, drama and essays, featuring her signature blend of wordplay, imagination and wisdom.

Keep reading for a peek inside this unique and fascinating work.


Let me tell you about a
beautiful bird,
an everlasting bird
that lives deep in
the rain forests
of Brazil.

Those who have heard it sing call it ‘Uirapurú’ because that is the sound of its song:

‘Oor a poor oo’ ‘Oora poor ooooo.’

There were some who thought it sang, ‘You’re a poor you.’ Others thought it sang, ‘You’re a pure you.’ Still others thought that it was just singing. Many people went in search of it. Some never returned. Those who did, told of its beautiful song sung in the black of the night—a song they would never forget.

‘Oora poor oooo.’

One day a group of boys decided to catch the bird. They had nets and bows and arrows and they wanted the bird alive or dead. For many days and many nights they travelled into the rain forest. Then one night they heard a sound so sweet they thought it could only be the song of the Uirapurú. They drew closer and closer to the source of the music but instead of a bird they saw an old, old man sitting at the foot of a tree and playing a flute.

‘What are you doing?’ the boys asked.

‘I am trying to play the song of the Uirapurú,’ the old man said.

‘If you play the notes, will the bird come?’ the boys asked, for they could see that in this way the old man might help them.

‘Sadly, no,’ the old man said. ‘For I would have to play the song perfectly and that I cannot do. The Uirapurú will come only for another Uirapurú and it is said that there is only one left in all the world. And if his song dies, the world, as we know it, will end. So I listen and listen and try to copy it exactly.’

The boys were angry with the old man and drove him away. But they were excited by the idea that there was only one Uirapurú in all the world and they were even more eager to catch it. The forest seemed quiet and lonely with the old man gone and very dark indeed and soon the boys fell asleep—half-listening, even as they slept, for the song of the Uirapurú. What wakened them instead were astonishing sounds—clicks and buzzes and squeaks and hoots.

[Continued in Metamorphosis…]


I hope you enjoyed this peek inside the pages of Metamorphosis. If you know a child who would appreciate this book–or you, yourself, are young at heart, be sure to order your copy from your favourite indie bookseller, or buy online through our Distributor, UTP.



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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.