I finally got Niedecker‘s Collected Works (Jenny Penberthy’s introduction here, Jane Augustine’s review here), and I’m thrilled: it was one of the biggest gaps in my poetry collection. To celebrate, two poems, the first submitted to Poetry in 1936 and the second submitted to New Directions in 1970, both unsuccessfully (so take heart, rejected poets). Both are simple, rhythmic poems; both are deeply weird and beautiful.

When do we live again Ann,
when dirt flies high
in wheeling time
and the lights of their eyes see ours.
For if it’s true
we’re the dung of the earth
and they the flowers
from stock that’s running out
they need to be planted over.
They’ll never know
the weeping diff’rence, Ann,
when the whole world laughs again.
  *  *  *

Nursery Rhyme
        As I nurse my pump

The greatest plumber
  in all the town
from Montgomery Ward
rode a Cadillac carriage
    by marriage
and visited my pump
A sensitive pump
    said he
that has at times a proper
  of water, air
and poetry

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