Originally published in Ms. Page's collection, The Hidden Room, Collected Poems (in two volumes), 1997 by The Porcupine's Quill Inc., 68 Main St., Erin, Ontario, N0B 1T0 Canada.
In 2001 her poem Planet Earth was read simultaneously in New York, the Antarctic and the South Pacific to celebrate the International Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, by special resolution of the U.N.
P.K. Page became a scriptwriter at Canada's National Film Board, where she met W. Arthur Irwin, a former editor of Maclean's magazine, whom she married in 1950.
Planet Earth was inspired by four lines of a longer poem by Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet and writer. The poem expresses her feelings and pain for what humanity is doing to the Earth.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness;
and the hands keep on moving,
smoothing the holy surfaces.
—– In Praise of Ironing by Pablo Neruda
It has to be loved the way a laundress loves her linens,
the way she moves her hands caressing the fine muslins
knowing their warp and woof,
like a lover coaxing, or a mother praising.
It has to be loved as if it were embroidered
with flowers and birds and two joined hearts upon it.
It has to be stretched and stroked.
It has to be celebrated.
O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet.