To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour. ~ William Blake
Whenever I go to the library, I stop and look at the books for sale.
Sometimes, I’m in the mood to stop and read all the dust jackets, careful to pick out the most engaging stories. On those days, I might end up with one or two to take home.
Other times, I grab an armful and toss them in my bag without a second glance. When they had large print books on sale for a quarter (yes, 25¢!) I was giggling maniacally as I pulled a dozen off the shelf at one time with the sweep of my arm. It’s okay, picture it. Bwahaha!
A Grain of Sand by P.K. Page falls into neither of those categories. It falls into another place, altogether.
It’s a very slim book, hardly noticeable. The cover is a pumpkin color, with the title in a copper-y gold-leaf. They’re nearly the same color, the fabric and the words. Consequently, the spine was impossible to read. I probably passed it by a few times, as did others. Just a guess.
The first time I looked at it, I did something I just realized I do with all beautiful books… I laid my hand on the cover and stroked it lightly, just once, as if it was precious cargo. And while it is lovely (you can see the cover) I had the feeling it was beautiful inside, too.
I was right.
(An aside: I have a ratty old paperback copy of Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh that provokes the same reverent response, as does Praying with Katie which I talked about before. I know, I’m a sap.)
It seems to me that the author wrote a poem from a poem… specifically, Blake’s poem, above. Her poem is short, a couple of lines per page, and is wonderful. What makes it even more wonderful are the illustrations by Vladyana Krykorka. They are little watercolor masterpieces that I’d hang on my wall in an instant. So etherial.
I turn to these kinds of books when I don’t feel like thinking or figuring stuff out. I want to be entertained by something pretty and whimsical.
There is an element of self-help in stopping… resting… taking time off from the hustle-and-bustle of daily life.
If you love sweet poetry that is light but can reach deep… and watercolors that bring you to the edge of the sea (you expect to hear the waves lapping up against the shore… and seagulls!) then find this little book.
I have this goofy, dreamy smile on my face right now. It feels good.