Lorine Niedecker

L
Lorine Niedecker
Linnaeus in Lapland
Nothing worth noting
except an Andromeda
with quadrangular shoots—
the boots
of the people

wet inside: they must swim
to church thru the floods
or be taxed—the blossoms
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Foreclosure
Tell em to take my bare walls down
my cement abutments
their parties thereof
and clause of claws

Leave me the land
Scratch out: the land

May prose and property both die out
and leave me peace
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Wilderness
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
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“A monster owl”
A monster owl
out on the fence
flew away. What
is it the sign
of? The sign of
an owl.
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I rose from marsh mud
I rose from marsh mud,
algae, equisetum, willows,
sweet green, noisy
birds and frogs

to see her wed in the rich
rich silence of the church,
the little white slave-girl
in her diamond fronds.
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Darwin

I
His holy
slowly
mulled over
matter

not all “delirium
of delight”
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141
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His Carpets Flowered
William Morris I
—how we’re carpet-making
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32
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He Lived—Childhood Summers
He lived—childhood summers
thru bare feet
then years of money’s lack
and heat

beside the river—out of flood
came his wood, dog,
woman, lost her, daughter—
prologue
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I married
I married

in the world’s black night
for warmth
if not repose.
At the close—
someone.

I hid with him
from the long range guns.
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Keen and lovely man moved as in a dance
Keen and lovely man moved as in a dance
to be considerate in lighted, glass-walled
almost outdoor office. Business

wasn’t all he knew. He knew music, art.
Had a heart. “With eyes like yours I should think
the dictaphone” or did he say the flute?

His sensitivity—it stopped you.
And the neighbors said “She’s taking lessons
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Mr. Van Ess bought 14 washcloths?
Mr. Van Ess bought 14 washcloths?
Fourteen washrags, Ed Van Ess?
Must be going to give em
to the church, I guess.

He drinks, you know. The day we moved
he came into the kitchen stewed,
mixed things up for my sister Grace—
put the spices in the wrong place.
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My mother saw the green tree toad
My mother saw the green tree toad
on the window sill
her first one
since she was young.
We saw it breathe

and swell up round.
My youth is no sure sign
I’ll find this kind of thing
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Old Mother turns blue and from us
Old Mother turns blue and from us,
“Don’t let my head drop to the earth.
I’m blind and deaf.” Death from the heart,
a thimble in her purse.

“It’s a long day since last night.
Give me space. I need
floors. Wash the floors, Lorine!—
wash clothes! Weed!”
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Paean to Place
And the place
was water

Fish
fowl
flood
Water lily mud
My life

in the leaves and on water
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Poet’s work
Grandfather
advised me:
Learn a trade

I learned
to sit at desk
and condense

No layoff
from this
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24
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Popcorn-can cover
Popcorn-can cover
screwed to the wall
over a hole
so the cold
can’t mouse in
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32
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Thomas Jefferson
I
My wife is ill!
And I sit
waiting
for a quorum


II
Fast ride
his horse collapsed
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30
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Tradition
I
The chemist creates
the brazen
approximation:
Life
Thy will be done
Sun


II
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42
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Watching dan-/ cers on skates
Ten thousand women
and I
the only one
in boots

Life’s dance:
they meet
he holds her leg
up
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What horror to awake at night
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
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The wild and wavy event
The wild and wavy event
now chintz at the window

was revolution . . .
Adams

to Miss Abigail Smith:
You have faults

You hang your head down
like a bulrush
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