JENNE' R ANDREWS
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.
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,
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 Coterie, The Adirondack Review, The Ontario Review, The Seneca Review, The Colorado Review, The 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.