I've finally gotten my hands on the Barbara Ras second collection of poetry "One Hidden Stuff." The title comes from the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff."
I think that even people who don't like poetry, or think that poetry is pompous or pretentious, will love Barbara Ras. I think that this is the type of poem that opens up poetry to the whole world, and I think in this poem she is actually trying to find the hidden stuff. I love this poem:
Maybe today will be the day you wake and for the first time
watch the full moon set surprisingly red over the fine edge of the earth.
Maybe today you'll see the fawn on its gawky legs, the spots on its side
floating tentatively like some leftover dazed grace,
so that you think about animals, their paths to righteousness,
and maybe you'll remember the day a dragonfly rode your shirt front
all the way around the lake, its jeweled body breathless but pulsing,
a little like first love. Maybe today
you'll find gardenias floating in a blue wood-fired bowl and their scent
will bloom into the room like ghostly elephants, bugling softly,
and finally, you'll buy the tickets to Zanzibar,
somewhere with slow fans and ceremonious walking,
where the post office behind the soccer field will smell of cinnamon,
and on the way to the coast you'll visit a village
and the king there will remind you "without evil there is no good."
And though of course evil will entire into every day,
maybe today it will be impersonal, butting into your life quietly
like the deer head on the walls of the barbecue shack, or insidious
but distant like the human ear in a lab somewhere growing on the back of a mouse.
Maybe you can put even these out of your mind along with the cruelty
of strangers and imagine that today's the day a little bit of time
might stop, suspended in the foot a great blue heron holds above the water,
or maybe you'll watch the mourning doves and discover they warble
as they fly, so eternally amazed by flight that they call, I'm doing it, I'm doing it.
Why not make today the day you look
at the back of your eyelids in a fresh way, the glitter there
reminding you of the beach, the starstruck sand you sifted as a child,
sometimes finding a shell the size of a large speck and wondering
about the sound of the sea held in its infinitely small swirl
and what kind of ear it would take to hear it.
By now maybe it is noon, the sun squandering itself
like a coin burning a hole in the blue pocket of the sky,
and you think of the hours in the dead of the day in a dusty square,
a colonial city somewhere in Boyaca, and you remember
a burro in a plaza the size of a classroom, you waiting for the bus,
the burro waiting for nothing, while a dust devil picked up spinning, wind and dirt
dancing quietly, and you told yourself Remember this, the burro, the dust, and you
wrapped in a drenching solitude, and after all these years, you do.
Maybe today you'll make another memory like that, maybe it'll be the pelicans
and their orderly untalkative lineup in the sky with wings practicing
the language of knives. Maybe it'll be the man shrimping,
a silhouette on the horizon at sunset, flinging his circular net up into the air to flash
a dainty daytime fireworks before it sinks into the sea.
Maybe it won't be today, maybe tomorrow, an even better day,
the brassy moon setting as you rise, maybe bouncing a bit before it slips
blissfully into the ocean, the Indian Ocean, of course, and overhead
the fabulous wingspan of the new birds, hungry
for the blue horizon.
-- Barbara Ras
Posted by misswhistle
at 19:33 PDT