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, October 25, 2011

New Rilke Variation: Of Eternity and Angels, for DVerse Open Link Night

 Take your pick-- pasting in new draft-- Rilke variation follows...xj

The Cry

A woman driving at night
Through a storm, gets out of her car
To see what lies in the road
It is a raccoon
That looks like a child
Curled around itself;
She pulls it to the roadside
by its small hands

And she drives on
Until the road becomes a lake
Of shadow beneath a white sea

Until she is in the grotto of memory
Where a polar bear surviving the floes
Staving off his hunger for another hour
Pitches himself at an enclave of walruses

For one of their calves, and gored, flung back
with a starvation cry
digs a place next to them, settling there
into the earth.

Earlier she had taken a doll from its bassinette
a doll handmade
To approximate an infant

Its eyelids closed, soft ridges
Of mohair eyelashes rooted
With a felting needle. 

She had rocked it against her emptiness
Listening to the first ice storm of the season
Lash at the trees, their sheathed leaves clattering

And gone out into the radiant snow
The first curtaining and white oblivion
Of the late autumn,

Craving the cold’s jabbing anesthesia
An Absolve Domine
Cresting in her throat.

Of Eternity and Angels

I don't care for the Christian concept of
an afterlife because of our longing for
the Beyond—it makes us less
present and earthy.

Rilke, Letters

When I thought we should live for heaven
When I was taught of eternity and angels
My imagination, so in love with red flowers

And the shadowy hips of the mountains
Resisted in the way of a tree stump
That will not submit to the axe. 

I knew the Hetaera, the courtesan within me
Even when young, of how Lady Chatterley
Met her lover in the meadow,
Too expansive in nature and will to be locked in
To a corset or a marriage.

In the folly of the flowers, I sought the rapture
Of the body and to melt into the widely pigmented
Sunset that gathered up my dreaming each night.

How we have tied one another to a forlorn distrust
of the flesh, the living that is measured
In the rich draught of each day in cascading

Leaves and the azure of the harbor where the skiffs
Linger like flames set in a blue candle.

Bogan wrote that she loved the world too much
But I wonder, is that possible, because here
In the body are all the songs we heard
When we took in our rich milk from that one

Who saw us out into the world and then,
the cross-pollination of the senses, so that
when we see the wide-winged geese
Or open to desire we are in the heavens

Of the present, with the frost-engraved
Grasses, the descending wind whose final
Purpose is to scatter our singing ashes
Like the spilled and unhulled seed.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews  2011 


Maureen said...

Another very lovely Rilke variation, Jenne. Some marvelous images: "the shadowy hips of the mountains/Resisted in the way of a tree stump / That will not submit to the axe", "the widely pigmented/Sunset that gathered up my dreaming each night", "the skills /Linger like flames set in a blue candle".

The imagery of the physical - "here / In the body are all the songs we heard /..." - underscores what's to be found in the Present of which Rilke talks endlessly.

Some nice irony in that title, given that what we find on earth we lose.

Brian Miller said...

we are in the heavens of present...great line jenne...i have no problem seeing heaven, i just wish we brought it more to this place...

Heaven said...

i like your passion and vivid words....i do agree in living and striving for the here and now.

your last verse is superb...

Mystic_Mom said...

Wonderful poem Jenne, love how you weave your words!

Timoteo said...

More unparalleled excellence.

In solidarity, my poem...


It is said
that in all
the dimensions
that we
cling to one
of the lowest
with our constant
and our ceaseless
and yet
we pour the wine
the music plays
I gaze
into your eyes...

Forgive me
for loving this life
it is all
I know
or can remember

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenne, lovely poem, the heavens of the present, the skiff in the blue candle, the last burden of the wind. Really very lovely. K.

Anonymous said...

Truly wonderful and a testament to life Jenne.... I'm of a mixed sort.... life is fleeting to me, and although an eternity in Heaven sounds absolutely pleasant, sometimes I think it might be better to just not be at all. Heaven is like an albatross to me..... and life is like 80 years in grade school.... Every week the teacher tells us "You're going to be tested on Friday so study hard...." And in life we're tested everyday and every way, "Oh you can't get to heaven if you do this or that or think about this or that." So really, is all the testing going to stop once we get to Heaven? Or is it just going to be like a whole other level of intensified testing? Like, if we don't learn how to play the harp in six months will we get demoted to the soprano section of the choir? And end up following
God around all day just singing praises to Him? Do think He is really like that? I just don't know Jenne. But I am tired of being tested. I would much rather just rest for eternity......... smiles

Heaven said...

Just dropping by to say - thanks for your lovely comments and for getting into the heart of my writing - we are imperfect in loving and living ~

Kerry O'Connor said...

Gosh both are good, but the second kind of ripped into me in a good way: to be a follower of flowers, one who listened to the call of her own body; it is so life affirming and pensive at the same time. I love your work.

joanna said...

Jenne, I couldn't get past the beauty of the first piece! So many layers of imagery, such rich emptiness. Love the transition of

"And she drives on
Until the road becomes a lake
Of shadow beneath a white sea..."

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my goodness, both of these poems are absolutely GLORIOUS. I am FEASTING this morning, with my cup of tea and such rich words. Timoteo's poem is wonderful too. All of this is a TRIP! Too many wonderful lines to single any out.....but I felt every line in my heart.

Victoria said...

Jenne, I feel a bit tipsy on the beauty of your poetry as well as Rilke's. You are truly a word-artisan. Thank you.

Victoria said...

Hi, again, I just read your "about" so have a new understanding of your skill. But something that jumped out at me: JRT's and Goldens! My soul-mate dog was a Golden and we've had JRT's for 22 years now. Ahhhh.

Beachanny said...

I don't know how some people can skiff through poems so quickly and deftly. I've taken 45 minutes so far with the two poems here. I hardly know where to begin to comment, wouldn't consider a critique. I have come to expect the high level of poetry, the high quality of thought in your work. What excites me here is your hinging, or possibly unhinging, one metaphor stacked on another with the ease of a transition like this:
"And she drives on
Until the road becomes a lake
Of shadow beneath a white sea

Until she is in the grotto of memory". In sport, or dance it is not the technical elements well achieved that make an act good, it is the ease of motion, the transitions that make those elements seamless. You always exhibit that in your work. I am still striving for that grace. What else can I say!

jen revved said...

Many thanks to all and Gay-- what a compliment! I think of a draft as a cascade of images and let them come as they appear and then begin to shape, move things around, etc... don't know how else to describe it..xxxj