Monday, June 1, 2009

Ruby Bute

Today, I would like to recognize St. Maarten's most notorious poet, Ruby Bute. I had the pleasure of meeting Ruby on my trip to St. Maarten a few weeks ago. Not only is she a poet, but she is an accomplished artist as well, and she is the artistic ambassador for the island.

I love Ruby's art. This, I guess, is what she is most famous for. Self-taught as artist and poet, she shows what a person can do when she puts her mind to it, no matter under what circumstances she is under or where she is born.

Ruby's poetry, like her paintings, is fresh and without the corruption of academia's influence. She doesn't worry about style or voice. She just writes what comes to her heart. The same is true with her art. She really can't be pigeonholed into one artistic school or another. She lets the subject guide her emotions, and she lets the brush do what it wants on the canvas.

I selected a poem which I think really reflects her style. It's called "Starry, Starry Night:"

Sitting on beach sand under the stars,
We listened
To the whispering of our hearts
And the serenade of the sea.

That night
We promised
To never part,
Come what may.

Under a jeweled sky of a thousand galaxies,
We pledged to conceal and cherish our love
Like a precious pearl sealed in
A golden shell.

This is a lovely poem. It draws the reader in to that night while sitting on the beach. The imagery really makes it come to life, and the emotions are whispered yet very powerful. In all her poetry, she tends to say little yet evoke much more in readers' minds about her subject. She allows the reader to come away with his own conclusion, and I like that aspect. I like how she's painted the scene and alluded to the situation without giving away all the details. I think that's the best way to write poetry. The poet should let the reader enjoy and live the poem. I also like the simplicity of language and the ease of reading the poem. How many poets write poetry that no one can understand? Even the critics can't get it right. That's not the case for Ruby. She writes to the people, especially for her people of St. Maarten.

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