His Carpets Flowered

By Lorine Niedecker 1903–1970 Lorine Niedecker

William Morris

—how we’re carpet-making
by the river
a long dream to unroll
and somehow time to pole
a boat
I designed a carpet today—
dogtooth violets
and spoke to a full hall
now that the gall
of our society’s
corruption stains throughout
Dear Janey I am tossed
by many things
If the change would bring
better art
but if it would not?
O to be home to sail the flood
I’m possessed
and do possess
of labor, true—
to get done
the work of the hand…
I’d be a rich man
had I yielded
on a few points of principle
Item sabots
I work in the dye-house
Good sport dyeing
tapestry wool
I like the indigo vats
I’m drawing patterns so fast
Last night
in sleep I drew a sausage—
somehow I had to eat it first
Colorful shores—mouse ear...
horse-mint... The Strawberry Thief
our new chintz
Yeats saw the betterment of the workers
by religion—slow in any case
as the drying of the moon
He was not understood—
I rang the bell
for him to sit down
Yeats left the lecture circuit
yet he could say: no one
so well loved
as Morris
Entered new waters
Studied Icelandic
At home last minute signs
to post:
grows here—Please do not mow
We saw it—Iceland—the end
of the world rising out of the sea—
cliffs, caves like 13th century
of hell-mouths
Rain squalls through moonlight
Cold wet
is so damned wet
black sand
Stone buntings’
Sea-pink and campion a Persian

Lorine Niedecker, "His Carpets Flowered" from Collected Works. Copyright © 2004 by Lorine Niedecker.  Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works (University of California Press, 2004)

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Poet Lorine Niedecker 1903–1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Architecture & Design, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue

 Lorine  Niedecker


Niedecker's verse is praised for its stark, vivid imagery, subtle rhythms, and spare language, which Kenneth Cox described as "whittled clean." Concerned with the distillation of images and thoughts into concise expression, Niedecker described her work as a "condensery," and several critics have compared her poetry to the delicate yet concrete verse of Chinese and Japanese writers. Although Niedecker's long correspondence with

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Architecture & Design, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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