Poems on this Lorine Niedecker Web site are from the book “Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works” edited by Jenny Penberthy, published by the University of California Press, 2002 used with permission by the University of California Press.
Remember my little granite pail? The handle of it was blue. Think what's got away in my life— Was enough to carry me thru.
Black Hawk held: In reason land cannot be sold, only things to be carried away, and I am old.
Young Lincoln's general moved, pawpaw in bloom, and to this day, Black Hawk, reason has small room.
There's a better shine on the pendulum than is on my hair and many times .. .. I've seen it there.
Asa Gray wrote Increase Lapham: pay particular attention to my pets, the grasses.
In moonlight lies the river passing— it's not quiet and it's not laughing.
I'm not young and I'm not free but I've a house of my own by a willow tree.
In the great snowfall before the bomb colored yule tree lights windows, the only glow for contemplation along this road
I worked the print shop right down among em the folk from whom all poetry flows and dreadfully much else.
I was Blondie I carried my bundles of hog feeder price lists down by Larry the Lug, I'd never get anywhere because I'd never had suction, pull, you know, favor, drag, well-oiled protection.
What horror to awake at night and in the dimness see the light. Time is white mosquitoes bite I've spent my life on nothing.
The thought that stings. How are you, Nothing, sitting around with Something's wife. Buzz and burn is all I learn I've spent my life on nothing.
I've pillowed and padded, pale and puffing lifting household stuffing— carpets, dishes benches, fishes I've spent my life in nothing.
Paul when the leaves fall
from their stems that lie thick on the walk
in the light of the full note the moon
playing to leaves when they leave
the little thin things Paul
The death of my poor father leaves debts and two small houses.
To settle this estate a thousand fees arise— I enrich the law.
Before my own death is certified, recorded, final judgement judged
taxes taxed I shall own a book of old Chinese poems
and binoculars to probe the river trees.
Hear where her snow-grave is the You ah you of mourning doves
My friend tree I sawed you down but I must attend an older friend the sun
A robin stood by my porch and side-eyed raised up a worm
Get a load of April's fabulous
frog rattle— lowland freight cars in the night
Grandfather advised me: Learn a trade
I learned to sit at desk and condense
No layoff from this condensery
Now in one year a book published and plumbing— took a lifetime to weep a deep trickle
I knew a clean man but he was not for me. Now I sew green aprons over covered seats. He
wades the muddy water fishing, fall in, dries his last pay-check in the sun, smooths it out in Leaves Of Grass. He's the one for me.
Popcorn-can cover screwed to the wall over a hole so the cold can't mouse in
Your erudition the elegant flower of which
my blue chicory at scrub end of campus ditch
(Excerpt from Lake Superior)
I'm sorry to have missed Sand Lake My dear one tells me we did not We watched a gopher there
My Life by Water
My life by water— Hear
spring's first frog or board
out on the cold ground giving
Muskrats gnawing doors
to wild green arts and letters Rabbits
raided my lettuce One boat
two— pointed toward my shore
thru birdstart wingdrip weed-drift
of the soft and serious— Water
Far reach of sand A man
bends to inspect a shell Himself
part coral and mud clam
We must pull the curtains— we haven't any leaves
I walked New Year's Day
beside the trees my father now gone planted
evenly following the road
A poor poet divining Gail
The baby looked toward me and I was born— to sound, light lift, life beyond my life
She wiggles her toe I grow I go to school to her and she to me and to Bonnie
You are the man You are my other country and I find it hard going
You are the prickly pear You are the sudden violent storm
the torrent to raise the river to float the wounded doe