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 .

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Poem: Sursum Corda

Sursum Corda

I have my lines down.  Step from the shadows
With rouged cheeks, combed hair
My face splashed new with cold water—

Point to the iris bed where diamond-tipped leaves
Shake off the first rain.  Speak of beauty.
And the morning to come.

But I am not ready to forfeit
The good dark of March’s fury
And the bowl of love containing me

In the chapels of dust
And Good Friday ash.  We are out of candles
And sit in the dusk and the dusk fades away

And there are flickering voices telling
Of a crisis on the Tunisian border
For some reason I say turn the news down

So we can only hear a murmuring,
Like bubbles on a pond’s surface
To know that the fish are gathered

Should we need to see incarnate hunger
Climbing up through fields of ice
To kindle the will.

I say then loose our dogs out back
To trample the already wounded
Orchard grass

Let the winter-killed branches
Sway on the rising moon.
Divide, conquer the light

Before it betrays us:
If spring comes to the pastures
It will hide the scar where we put down

The last mare.
It will occlude the small deaths
Where things stretched out

And fell asleep in the cold.
It seems to me then
That spring lies to us

With its ploy of good cheer
In the ardent drowse of nubbed lilacs
The blurred rendezvous of humming birds

The calling of owls
Surging to their clutch- heavy nests
Season pouring milky light over us

So that we spend our planting ardor
Until we are used up
Seraphim that first appeared

With a message of import
And then came down
With amnesia.

Yes: spring’s deceiving choirs
Come at dawn with their sursum corda
Building cairns to hold the sun’s fire

In cattail inferences of fertility, then implying
The power of flight,
That we hold merciful, inward-facing light

By means of which we may see
Redeem and change ourselves
A sleight of hand within the soul.

Here in the churches of the day
The vixen comes to the edge
Of the fallow patch

That was our garden
Where you scattered yellow squash seed
And I shielded columbines

From the dirt devils rising
Spiraling madly toward us
From the arenas to the West.


No more planting for us, but we love the vixen,
Do we not; she is honest
In how she eats carrion
To feed her kits, to go on.  With the coyotes
She trails the foaling mares
She outruns all

Seasons of the garden’s black cycling
How seedlings come and go
In servitude to the frost;

She sniffs the air, calculates
How long to take the bread from the porch
How far back to the lair.


We are out of candles I say again
And you in your way of keeping on
Placating the terror I have

At our mutated love, our aging
Drift off to the store and back
In reassuring lassitude

And I sing a half-willed alleluia
To the high priest of night
Thinking that the wild rose vines

Will assail the window
By morning
Blindly opening their mouths

Salmon-pink mimes of the breaking day
They will warn our fingers
Extruding one thorn apiece
At the stem’s aureole.
Undeterred, you unwrap the lemon candles,
Pinch back the tallow

To make a way for the flame.
I pour myself a glass of water
To take the last pill of my grief.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2012


Anonymous said...

Whoa. An epic poem. Wonderful. I love the reluctant love for the vixen; the last mare put down; the half-alleluias, and the sparsity of candles at dusk; then lemon candles, climbing rose. K.

Lorna Cahall said...

Wonderful poem. I sent it on to my Twitter folks. It does what it sets out to do - sanctify time...it does not have amnesia, yet it includes loss and gain in kind of hymn.

jen revved said...

Many, many thanks to Karin and Lorna-- I'll be fixing the punctuation momentarily and stopping by..... xxxj