Michael Andrews Arts

See Announcements for details on publication of Archilochus poems in Arion Magazine.


Poems & Pictures about my father, James Joseph Andrews, by Michael Andrews


Artist Book

Pop is what we always called him, but his name was really James Joseph Andrews, born 16 November 1921. He died on 1 October 2005, while I was away at the Oak Knoll Book fair in New Castle, Delaware.
It took me over three years to write this book largely, I suspect, because it was too painful – too objectively close. I can offer no other explanation and still, I have done nothing to promote it. The poems are meant to convey something of his life as well as the brutality of his death. In his lifetime Pop witnessed the Sierras as the actual wild until it eventually turned into an over-regulated park and cheap pine farm. He raised three children and had two grandchildren. He died before his great-granddaughter was born. There is no real reason to foist this book upon the world, other that its deep meaning to myself. The photographs, other than those I have taken myself, came from family negatives and, in most cases, the actual photographer is unknown.
Pop was in many ways the finest man I knew. He was not an intellectual, but was quite intelligent. This was reflected in his talents and unfulfilled aspirations and in the philosophical way he faced his world. As a man, he attended to the responsibilities that he had taken on before considering his own needs and desires. And that, in case this culture has forgotten, is what a hero actually does – places the welfare others before one's own. In parting, I can only say what we do not know but would like to believe – see you on the other side.
202, 6x9 inch pages on 100% rag, archival paper, 102 poems, 45 images, case bound, printed with cover image. Set with Divona & Caslon Old Face typefaces, printed on a natural, un-coated rag paper.


The Squirrel Hunt

Graveyard, 1957

We load the Remington 22 long rifle
and put on our finest wilderness scout
outfits and Pop takes us across the stream,
passed the grave below the cross in the tree
into the deep forest of ancient pine
and fir and fern and hemlock.

We are learning to be hunters.

We stalk without a sound
avoiding twigs and rattling pine cones.

We pass up the chipmunks
not wanting to scare off the big game.
The chipmunks and squirrel
are all on to us.
We have a life and death need
for big gray squirrels,
the kind with bushy tails
suitable for a mountain man's fur hat.

Now and then I get a shot and miss,
and then it's Rick's turn to miss
and we go deeper into the forest
until we find a big rock sitting in the shade
at the edge of a clearing
and Pop says that we have to sit still,
not make a sound, not even a whisper.

So we do.

We sit dead still for an hour.
It is one of the finest hours in our lives.
We are the only three guys
in all this dark and ancient forest.

We are learning to wait.
We are learning to be inside the quiet.

Mostly we learn how close
we are to one another,
to this roaring silence,
this stillness of sky
and this quiet joy
of being so far,
far away from
the noise
of other minds.