One of the highlights of my week is listening to NPR’s This American Life podcast. Each week I’m moved, inspired, and intrigued. This week I laughed and was inspired by the power of simple everyday language. Part 2 of the show entitled Mistakes Were Made presents an original poem by William Carlos Williams. A poem which reads like a casual note tacked up on the fridge. A sort of non-apologizing apology.
This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold
This simple poem, with its everyday language, has inspired many would-be poets to write similar poems. Spoofs. Here are a few.
Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams
by Kenneth Koch
1 I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer. I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do and its wooden beams were so inviting. 2 We laughed at the hollyhocks together and then I sprayed them with lye. Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing. 3 I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years. The man who asked for it was shabby and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold. 4 Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg. Forgive me. I was clumsy and I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!
Sorry, But It Was Beautiful
by Andrew Vecchione (a 6th Grader)
This is just to say sorry I took your money and burned it. But it looked like the world falling apart when it crackled and burned. So I think it was worth it. After all you can’t see the world fall apart every day.
One seemingly simple poem inspired people to write poetry. I think this makes ‘This Is Just To Say’ a remarkable poem.
Want to read more? Search the web for ‘this is just to say spoof’. The Somewhere in the Suburbs blog has some great spoofs. If you find one or feel inspired to write one, share them here as a Comment. Thanks!