Jenne' Andrews is an American poet. She has three published chapbooks including the recent Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, Finishing Line Press 2013.

A full-length collection, Reunion, Lynx House Press, was published in 1983; after a long hiatus to raise Golden Retrievers in Colorado, recent work has appeared in The Passionate Transitory, Belletrist Coterie, The Adirondack Review and Vox Populi, a journal of culture, politics and poetry published and edited by the august Michael Simms.

A bilingual collection of "Italiana," Bocca, Voce, Delirio, with translations by Lorenzo Luciani, will be released by Finishing Line at the end of 2016 and her latest collection, And Now, the Road, a finalist for the Autumn House prize in 2014, will be released by Salmon Poetry Ltd, Ireland, a highly regarded international house, Jessie Lendennie, Publisher, circa 2017.

Andrews holds the MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Colorado State University, is a literary fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, and was full-time Poet in Residence for the St. Paul Schools from '74-78. She lived in St. Paul from 1971-78 during the first wave of the Twin Cities literary renaissance, and spent the summer of 1973 in Reggio Calabria, Italy.

The poet lives in northern Colorado's Poudre River Valley with her husband, fiction writer Jack Brooks; the couple has recently imported two British Golden Retrievers and expects a litter in June-- see the Ardorgold website for details. Contact: jenneandrews2010@gmail.com .

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sleep Was Not

The laudamus te fades against the verging shadows of afternoon.  The color of the day is gold, golden green and dream-blue. Sleep was not, in the womb of the night:  vigilance.  Muted calling of owls; daybreak birds.  Dawn made alabaster of the trees and you were for a time in Calabria again, then in the old adobe where light cascades over white walls—as an infant, tiny hands.

The mares are pendulous with foal; no fence contains their dreaming.  There will be first one stilt-legged colt then another, shaking wet heads, on the morning.  Will you buy a geranium and permit its red flames to release the verbiage of adoration, little choristers of the Vatican in a te deum.

You would sing every moment if the heart permitted it.  The old soul wanders in the garden, humming planting songs like the spent old poet who held forth last night in a stone church after sundown.  The man of the moon, in his old Peruvian vestments.

You see now that you banished yourself to the root cellar and sat there counting tubers, working up your nerve. But we have no seed here; this is not the year to turn the earth over, no turning over.   You buoy yourself up with the singing, spinning the day on until there is a new skein. Of honey, silk, salt.  Have you told the truth?  A lie is equally beautiful, lurking in the shallows, avoiding the gilded nets of the lost.



For the virtual literati

This is not the frontier.  There is no compulsion to cut down trees or build fences.  This is the margin.  This is an apartment on a rainy day like other apartments on rainy days where spent poets sit and wait for light to bless the hands so that the fingers want to curl over the keys in an etude, a kind of survival music.

Out in the world of the hustle and the insult and the breach of good will, in the brownstone offices and in the coffee parlors, a few poets read from their own recently published books and laud themselves the refracting windows.

On the margin, you limp from room to room, cocking your head like a bird for a strand, a lyric true to itself.  You rise above, you transcend the verging terrors of the flesh-- something knots in the breast-- vertigo in the night.

You consider the rejections in the inbox as what they are:  matters of taste sent out into the void by the somnolent and the jaded. 

You, born to sing, make noise.  Laugh at the spectacle of the jaded little brown poets struggling to get the worms out of the ground and eat them before the setting sun returns them to the garden where we all go down into the loam.

Little brown poet in your mantle of gilded words, do you not see the struts of your cages above the clouds, do you not sense the tumor come to bind your wings?

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011


Steve Isaak said...

Ethereal, beautiful (a word I rarely use, except in connection with my girlfriend), exemplary.

jen revved said...

Thanks very much, Steve. Really appreciate your words...xxxj

Fireblossom said...

"You, born to sing, make noise."

That's my favorite line.

James Rainsford said...

I simply love the imagery in these poems I particularly loved these lines:

"You would sing every moment if the heart permitted it. The old soul wanders in the garden, humming planting songs like the spent old poet who held forth last night in a stone church after sundown. The man of the moon, in his old Peruvian vestments."

Accomplished work, brilliantly expressed.

Alegria Imperial said...

...Could I add any more words or spin a new skein of moaning stolen from the soughing wind to both these gems of a dream? For dreams mean nothing unless spoken to and of. Like impish nymphs, dreams not made to speak puff away with a breath. And sleep unless to dream can never find a womb to lay its head unless to dream.

In dreams the universe blossoms to gain flesh in the daylight, the bird hopping among pebbles to find a grain of a song. But up in the trees, cawing and preened, little brown poets who have eaten of the husk mistaking it for the grain sing hoarsely and deafen the deaf while you, little bird, find the true grain.

Swallowing, you begin with a tiny note that soon rises to an aria from the deep to the heights and the wind orchestrates violins among twigs that stretch to blend with the high notes of the stars. Below among the stones, the little brown poets have gone back on hearing from the wind your song, realizing they had missed a wing, find a grub, tear it up among themselves, and eating its shreds strut about saying they swallowed a butterfly.

Meanwhile, higher up in the spheres, your song sheathes the galaxies in melodies so distanced no earthly ear can ever hear.

Jenne, what potion do you spray on readers like me? Look at what you've done! Thank so much for this moment with you.