Notes on a Beautiful Sadness


. . . The glamour

Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast

Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.


D.H. Lawrence, Piano


Oh but if there had been a glamour

in that beautiful place. Or if the sadness


itself had worn a tint like the sunrise:

the adobe that held the small family


like a darkly veined hand in the alfalfa

incense of summer, the cicadas’


relentless ave verum. If the dark-eyed

infant in the christening gown had not


been as mortal, her skin listening, hearing

the rise and fall of remonstrating voices.


If the camellia-pale, green-eyed mother

ever sang, or laughing, buoyed us,


if the father’s amorous play were ever

returned before us so that we could know


what rapture was. If down the hallway

of the years there had been a blue door


into light, an invitation to come into day

whole and brave and hungry, or the world

itself dance toward us in a flaring red skirt

of possibility. As it happens now, the house 


waits there shuttered, hollyhocks in flagging

ruin, the girl I was in the desert years


emerging from long shadows, proffering me

midnight roses, her dark hair a wound.

El Rio de Noche


. . . A window frames

the river’s crawl toward the Gulf. In my dream,

the ghost of history lies down beside me,

rolls over, pins me beneath a heavy arm.


Pilgrimage, Natasha Trethewey


Late at night, the river is a sibilant green

scarf pressed into darkness, a fluent script


of witness spilling what it has seen –

an old man running along the bank ahead


of a train, flinging himself down in front

of it on the bridge; someone who found


her infant asleep forever – the curtain

of dark hair where she knelt at the water’s


edge, rinsing grief from her face.

One day I rode a grey mare through it,


letting the current come up over her belly,

my boots – we wore our wet bravado


like a blessing, homeward.  

Now the ghosts of those we dispossess


shimmer in the trees of midnight

on the river’s soft shoulders; they have


nowhere to rest but near the voluble

cascade that narrates a truce with


an uneasy sleep. We measure our own

volition by this singular strand – 


how it polishes stones, bearing itself on, 

a dream that never fractures, even though


from time to time it crests its seam in

rebellion against all siphoning –


or levying some unholy tariff,

runs lacquer black with wildfire ash.

The Returning


When you feel no commonality between

yourself and other people, try to be close

to Things, which will not abandon you.


Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


Green summer burns on

in her husk. The neighbor

floods his fields

with mountain water.

In a house awash in shadows,

I unbind myself

from dogs and love.

For half a lifetime

I have surrendered

to the garden’s breath-caught

plea for water,

the ache of love

beneath the poplars,

lonely, dark-eyed dogs.


Now the green season sings

in eternal dusk.

I lose and find myself

in bread and longing;

I dust and sweep,

and plunge my hands

into soapy water

until late evening,

and the heart’s return

to the earth's assuaging,

dream-fraught touch:

the bone-rich fields,

resting place of gilded dogs 

and stubborn love.


In 2010, after a disabling fall from a horse, poet Jenne’ R Andrews gave up ranching in Colorado and returned to a full-time writing life begun in the 70s. Her poems have appeared in Belletrist CoterieThe Adirondack ReviewThe Ontario ReviewThe Seneca ReviewThe Colorado ReviewThe Lamp in the Spine, and many other journals and anthologies; her collections include Reunion (Lynx House Press), The Dark Animal of Liberty (Leaping Mountain Press) and In Pursuit of the Family (Minnesota Writers Publishing House, edited by Robert Bly). She completed the Colorado State University M.F.A. in 1988 and is a literary fellow of the National Endowment of the Arts. She posts reviews of contemporary poetry to her blog Loquaciously Yours and work in draft to La Parola Vivace. Her collection of lyric poetry, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, will be published by Finishing Line Press later this year.

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