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, “[What horror to awake at night]” from Collected Works, edited by Jenny Penberthy, Copyright © 2002 Regents of the University of California. Published by University of California Press.

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

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I learned that no matter how many times I do it, I will still be nervous when I speak in public. I also learned that it is possible to experience the same poem many times in a row and still feel like I am discovering something new about myself through the words of the writer."
Madeleine Schroeder
2017 OH POL Champion