A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 1 February 2008

I Carry My Clarity With Me

Mentioning the Meseta fog has reminded me of this:

Fog-thick morning -
I see only
where I now walk. I carry
my clarity
with me.

I can more or less guarantee that most people won't know the poetry of Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), 'America's Greatest Unknown Poet'. Fans of Emily Dickinson will almost certainly love her. She was the retiring daughter of a Wisconsin fisherman who spent much of her life beside a flooding river in a ramshackle hut without electricity or drinking water. She worked as a hospital cleaner.

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.

John Lehman wrote about her poetry in 2003: Niedecker's poetry is not a journey to another place. It takes us neither forward nor backward in time. Rather, it's a journey into nearness and immediacy. If we take the time and the effort to make some of these poems our own, they can awaken us and make us more fully aware of our own lives.

A journey into nearness and immediacy. I like that. I wish for that in all my own journeyings. Near or far. In fog or in sunshine.


Loren said...

That first poem was enough to make me add her to my Amazon Wish list, though I suspect it might already be on there somewhere.

Too much reading and not enough time, except during these cold, rainy, windy winter days.

The Solitary Walker said...

"A robin stood by my porch
and side-eyed
raised up
a worm

Get a load
of April's

frog rattle -
lowland freight cars
in the night"

L Niedecker

Yes, too much to read, too little time in which to read it. Too many things to see, not enought time in which to see them. Perhaps it's best to concentrate on the tiny, close-up, local things...the World in a Grain of Sand...

am said...

Thank you for the introduction to Lorine Niedecker. Looking around, I found this article by Elizabeth Willis:


The Solitary Walker said...

That's a stunningly good summary, am. Thanks for directing me towards it.