National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. This year’s theme is ‘Time’…  Join us, every school day throughout the month of April, for a feature poem on the theme.

Our poem of the day for today is: What Horror to Awake at Night by American poet Lorine Niedecker.

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’m pillowed and padded, pale and puffing
lifting household stuffing—
      carpets, dishes
      benches, fishes
I’ve spent my life in nothing.

Lorine Niedecker was born in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and lived in this wilderness area for most of her life. Her isolation from other writers and the austere beauty of her natural surroundings had a notable impact on her work.  Niedecker’s verse is praised for its stark, vivid imagery, subtle rhythms, and spare language.  Since her death in 1970, several critics have identified Niedecker as a significant and original voice in contemporary American poetry.