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 .

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Poem for One Stop Wednesday...

(update-- also posting for Magpie Tales...)

The Bird of Dust

When the small boy came to me
With a handful of fallen barn swallows
I said
I cannot reattach these nests
I am not a mother bird.

I do not have the breast
For it, the fallen robins of the night
You who swoop with your soft cries of grief
I cannot reattach your nests.

The mares trampled them
Into the dust
And by morning
No fallen nests, no small birds
Like amputated 
fingers, white and cold.


But ma mere, mon semblable,
What of the breast you would not unbind for me
Caking at the long vowels of my cry

When I swayed in the sling of your arms
With my searing eyes
And working mouth?

It seems we fell away
From one another.
Did you startle away when I moved
At the sound of rain
Did you startle away?

You laid me down
In the ruthless dark
And sang lullabyes
To dawn’s undemanding  
Fleurs du printemps
Les fleurs plus sont ouvertes
And when I called to you
No one came.


You said I tore you asunder
When I swam into the world
When you said this
I spun a cocoon of tears
Seaming it to the roof of the night

I conjured a barn swallow mother
Feeding me from her own mouth
As a mother would
Settling over me, so that we
Lay heart to heart

As a mother should
Even in a nest
Hanging by a strand


My imaginary mere
Teaches me the solace of the wind
And it rocks me in her absence

The nest
Is attached to the beam.
I am safe
In the pouch of the nest.

That I am her alpha and omega
Toughens the sinew
Of her small fluttering body
And she stays me
When I speak to her of flying


You had said that I was too young
To fly
But I had somehow fractured my wings
Sharp feet had ground me to dust

When I lay broken
Mon semblable, ma mere
You gave your battle cry
And flew into the white eye
Of the mad moon.


To participate in the wonderful One Stop Poetry challenges, to learn and grow and write your heart out, click here.  (French refs: the flowers of spring, the quite open flowers)

Copyright Jenne’ R. Andrews 2011
All rights reserved


Reflections said...

Stark images tonal of sadness... Beautiful!

Alegria Imperial said...

I love how the images weave in and out of dark yet magical reality, how the voices swing from innocence to mastery, how her fractured young watches her fly into the "white eye of the mad moon"; and how the language moans and sobs in English and in French! Totally captivating, Jenne! Thanks!

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Oh, Jenne, what a powerful and evocative poem. Each rereading (and there have been quite a few) brings out new meanings and nuances. The robins of the night, the trampling mares, the real, the remembered and the imaginary mere, startled away by the sound of the rain, the breast caking at the vowel of the babe's cry ... the imagery is stunning, all leading up to that howling ending ... the battle cry, the white eye of the mad moon. Almost more than I can bear this morning. Almost.

Brian Miller said...

this is a gorgeous write...wonderfulimagery that evoke feeling...the reactions changind from first stanza to last...very nice one shot.

Carl said...

This is a beautiful piece. I love the way the POV moves. Each reading does bring forth new feelings and that is powerful.

These lines had particular power for me:
"My imaginary mere
Teaches me the solace of the wind
And it rocks me in her absence"

This is great work.

Anonymous said...

I found your words "I am safe in the pouch of the nest" to be particularly reassuring. Beautiful poetry.


hedgewitch said...

Is it just me or are you echoing a bit on purpose some Baudelaire here; in particular the unique and killer lines ",ma mere, ma sembable" remind me of the famous "Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!

Regardless, this is a gem of a poem on mothering, on trying to understand why it seems so hard for humans and so easy for birds and horses and other creatures to give in totality to their young the things that are needed rather than the things that are an empty gesture...as always, thought-provoking, profound and satisfying to read your work.

Maureen said...

You are on a roll, Jen! This has all your trademarks - lyricism, imagery, control of voice and more. So pleased to see the number of your followers increasing, too.

"... breast.../Caking at the long vowels of my cry": incredible.

jen revved said...

Thanks so very much, each of you, for these wonderful comments-- this was a tough poem to write, a tough thing to confront-- but isn't that something we must do, even at deeply personal levels. HW-- in one of her poems, perhaps "Diving into the Wreck" AR echoes Baudelaire w/ "mon semblable mon soeur" or however you spell sister-- I had remembered Rich's appropriation--- good call! so amazing that now we can know how we're doing when we write; we feed each other with our work, clearly!

Claudia said...

oh wow - this was utterly beautiful - strong and passionate and this last stanza was just gorgeous!

Padmavani said...

what do I say that others haven't said already, except that I have bookmarked this poem and will come back to read it again and again.