Bin Ramke’s poetry has always been concerned with separating the real from the wished-for or the feared. In Matter, Ramke investigates not only the physical realities of our world but the qualities that make things important to us, that give them weight. These poems, often in the voice of a child, are full of yearning and anguish but also an appreciation for the enhanced perceptions and small pleasures to be found among the sadness. “All lost things have the same voice,” he says, and this universal voice reminds us of home and family and the simple connections of ordinary life—the things that matter.
“When I was a saint,” begins the first poem, “I did not have visions but I could see and did note the color of the world.” Matter is an examination of and a report on the world’s variable colors and possibilities for, if not sanctity, then a certain sanity, a kindness, and some form of salvation.
“These meditations on matter become questions about auras, and though they begin in the body of childhood and stay with issues of flesh and figure, they are posited in a somber optimism, the kind that sees—just out of reach—something better.”—Fanny Howe, author of The Wedding Dress
From “This World’s Exuberant Surface”
a color of the air, next the rain
and the day moved on—day
being a convention of design,
day being the accident of sunlight
grinding against a turning world.