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, February 15, 2011

For One Shot Wednesday


One winter day I drove out
To the county line
To the Auschwitz of sheep there—
--Forgive me--

That is to say the thousands
Kept moving by small dark workers
In the sea of the feedlot 
Tide of sheep belonging
To someone rich and absent

Piling on each other
Fattening in the long troughs
of oily grain
Lambs slipping from the crushed
And calling ewes
The lambs disappearing
Into the muck

I had come for the "bum" and wet ones
Five dollars a head
Those few pulled in time
From the matriarchs culled
And shorn to bleeding skin
Sent with their eyes rolling
And shaking legs
On to slaughter

Although the wind blew hard
It could not drown out these voices
And I nearly froze in place
Surveying the undulant fields
Of sheep
And there were no lambs.

I turned back to the car
And then I saw a patch of white 
in the weeds
Like a rag.
I discerned a small face
With eye-slits

And I heard a thin cry
And I pulled out a towel
And went to the lamb there
Catching it to my chest
Inside my coat

I headed back along the wide
Black highway
Cutting through the winter hills
I bought goat’s milk
And I fed the lamb

And I built a fire
And held the lamb to me,
Rocking it
In the rising February wind.

I heard its small voice
In the night
I warmed the milk
And soothed the lamb

And in spite of inner
Shaming voices
What do you want with this lamb

Kept the fire
On high burn.

No one wants to admit
To being a lamb
We want to be the lions
Of our own lives

But look
How still
And full
And calm now
The lamb pulled from the weeds
Dried and fed.

Jenne' R. Andrews Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved


Gerry/Strummed words said...

How sweet to rescue innocence....

Brian Miller said...

smiles...so beautiful...the lamb...i think we all need our times as lambs and without it we grow firther into the lion...

Fireblossom said...

Don't mistake my meaning, but the first half of this almost made me ill. That is to say, it was blisteringly effective, to use the cold parlance of critique, when that's not the language this deserves.

I love the second part, and the rescue. Not just because I love animals and want a sappy happy ending (though i DO) but because of what it says about kindness and its true value, and the thought-provoking bit about lions and lambs.

hedgewitch said...

Images and parables, and I, like Fireblossom, had my stomach turned in the beginning, as I often do when I think of how we harvest animals and rape the world for our convenience, but there are worlds within worlds here, and the ending carries much redemption.

Ami Mattison said...

This is beautiful, Jen, especially the ending. I like the mirroring of these lines: "And I fed the lamb," "And I soothed the lamb." Also, it's interesting to relate "those inner shaming voices" with "no one wants to admit to being a lamb." Great work!

Laura said...

I love the setting of this poem. How you portray vulnerability in the context of mud and night, and wool. I found this very compelling! Thank you for writing!

jen revved said...

thanks very much each of you-- am making rounds. Hard to write of the sheep, an image haunting me for many years, but so necessary to call things by their names, yes? xxxj

Patricia Caspers said...

No one wants to admit
To being a lamb
We want to be the lions
Of our own lives

These lines are so surprising and fabulous!

Great work, Jenne'.

Beachanny said...

Uhoh..I closed too early...one more time.
I think this is very important. I felt a bit squeamish (a bit of guilt) at the first part. I like my halcyon views of sheep quietly grazing in green fields; but the pain and hurt of the first part was redeemed in the second canvas you painted. I felt a connection to the rescuer. Thank you. Gay @beachanny

jen revved said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

One winter day I drove out
To the county line
To the Auschwitz of sheep there—
--Forgive me--

The mention of Auschwitz set the tone for this very serious poem.

Immediately the scripture,

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?

No one wants to admit
To being a lamb
We want to be the lions
Of our own lives

Absolutely powerful observation of the human condition, and yet the lamb found safety and confort:

But look
How still
And full
And calm now
The lamb pulled from the weeds
Dried and fed.

Wonderful imagery and a clear picture of hope.

Shashi said...

Hi Andrews

Oh yes.. no one wants to live the life as lamb... but some times I wonder if its us or the ego that says so.. I liked your lines...
'No one wants to admit
To being a lamb
We want to be the lions
Of our own lives'

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter @VerseEveryDay

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L.L. Barkat said...

"And there were no lambs."

the starkness of that was perfect

And for some reason it reminded me of a book I read about a guy who bought a farm in Granada Spain, and he tried to sell his lambs' wool but he didn't know the system there and so he braved all that distance and the cold only to turn back home with no deals. It's a good book; I think you might like it. (Okay, please do not ask me how my mind works, and how associations are made, and why in the world I thought of the sheep shearer beyond the obvious "lambs" reference. It's a mysterious and sometimes baffling place, my mind :)

jen revved said...

Thanks each of you once again-- see you on Tues afternoon...isn't it grand. xxxj