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 .

Sunday, January 16, 2011

For One Shoot Sunday

Challenge:  photo of infant w/ dog tags, Katherine Forbes, at One Stop Poetry.  

Wake Not Our Dream

"Guten Abend, gute Nacht, Von Englein bewacht
Die zeigen im Traum, dir Christkindleins Baum
Schlaf nun selig und suess, Schau im Traum's Paradies
Schlaf nun selig und suess, Schau im Traum's Paradies"*

Lullabye,  Johannes Brahms

Wake not my dream
my dream in its infancy
of return from war
the last dream a man has
with his last breath
medics loading him with morphine
making the sign of the cross
on bloody coats
pulling out the IV's

It is every warriors' dream
of homecoming, flesh intact
but for the heart with its bruises
from the burial of fallen friends
the photographs of their wives
and sons
and daughters


We often save nothing
but memorabilia; we often
must bury chaff
we imagine to have once been human.

But what of the rage
that destroys all
and the eyes of All
that wait upon thee?

In the Taliban's cave
men murmur around a fire
they pray at dusk
they walkie talkie to their own
on the far ridge
is my family all right
did you see that drone

A dark haired young father
comes weeping from a bunker
carrying a child.
A wife in a burkah keens
on a grave of stones


I deployed in the night:
In the name of victory
In defense of what I believed
a good cause
I killed a Muslim fighter
a father and a husband
with my bare hands

Then I knew
I was one of the despised
I was called no name GI
and spat upon
in the POW camp

In a bright red flash
from an RPG
in the carooming of a humvee
into a ravine
I fell.


Now someone retrieves
my daughter's picture
My dog tags
from the chaff
where I was.

The tags were sent home
as was I, in my cold
flag-draped bed.

I lie in that bed
in the hanger
that warrior, son and father
I had become
dissipating like fog--
where there was a man
a bone cage with a heart

All around me the weeping
of weary angels.
My effects and I are processed
on the assembly line of the dead


Someone prays here.
The Lord Is My Shepherd--
He maketh me
To lie down in green pastures.

What has come to pass
may not be undone
by human hands
and I am not stilled
or comforted.

Weep not for me
sing not one kyrie
at a high mass
never extol my deeds

And wake not her dream.
speak well of me
to her,
The half-orphaned angel
who sleeps

Yea though I walk
through the valley of the shadow
of my sins and indiscretions
I loved her unto the last--
And this is everyone's war.

*Lullaby and good night,
Thy mother's delight,
Bright angels beside
My darling abide.
They will guard thee at rest,
Thou shalt wake on my breas

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews
January 16,2011


hedgewitch said...

You tackled a topic that many would prefer to leave under its rock, the 'assembly line of the dead' that is this endless war, clothed in bright flag rhetoric. (Very glad you used the photo you did, which I found somewhat repellent...but to which you've given a grace.)

Maureen said...

I just read at The Guardian a post about a Palestinian doctor whose home was shelled; he lost his daughters and niece and, it goes without saying, his home. (He lives in Canada now.) So, reading that, thinking about Tucson, and then coming to see your poem responding to Forbes' striking photo of that child asleep, with dog tags that represent her loss, yes. . . we all lose and what we leave behind is deeply broken.

Your use of the word "chaff" is powerful, and this line stands out for me:
"dissipating like fog /where there was a man" .

jen revved said...

thanks hw and M-- know it's dark, but... i know that the photo in a way shouts sentimentality and dictates as in thou shalt feel horrible about war. But the facts so harsh when we look beneath sentiment. thank you both for such support. i'm on dial-up today which for a writer is a kind of constipation-- will make the rounds to each of you and others later...xxxj

Brian Miller said...

ugh...a hard story, but you play it very nicely...when will we ever learn as we send off to war our sons and expect them to come home unchanged or even alive....nicely done...

Anonymous said...

This photo caught my eye as well as my heart. Your words especially the lines about infancy bought an added depth. Talibans caves care not for our daughters or our sons. Hard hitting write xx