Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?
— William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams, the essential American poet, has been quoted in this weblog before. The intended effect is to make me look good.
Which it always does.
Here we go again:
This is Just to Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
THE F IN FORGIVE
Written as if it were a note tacked on a fridge (more WCW slyness), the only capital letter is the F in forgive, indicating that the poet does not really want forgiveness.
There were refrigerators to be tacked on to when Williams wrote the poem, but icebox persisted in poems and conversations, and is punchier, no?
This poem is so often quoted on the Internet I don’t even feel guilty about posting it without somebody’s permission. In fact I spit on your permissions. This is to say
I have posted
about the plums
on my blog
you were probably
for some anthology.
the words were delicious
and so sweet
I don’t know who first parodied “This is Just to Say,” but it was Kenneth Koch who turned the exercise into an art:
Variations on a Theme
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.
We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.
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.
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!
This is not the first blog post to concern itself with such shenanigans. There is even a This American Life episode that contains “This is Just to Say” poems.
Perhaps, though it doesn’t matter, Just Add Father is the first parent blog to lose its composure in this way:
that were on the living room floor
you had been saving
for Darth Vader’s house
I told you to clean them up
the vacuum’s hum was so insistent
the plastic tinkling inside the metal hose
So freeing. So compelling. So therapeutic.
So much more refined, don’t you think, than “Go the F*** to Sleep.”
I can’t help myself.
the chocolote bunny
Aunt Lois left for you
And which had been
in the basket
we set out
he looked so cocky
amid the malted robin eggs
his fat ears
Care to try? Get if off your chest.
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Your This-is-Just-to-Say poem here. Just Add Father is listening. (Add your thoughts by clicking a few lines below below, where it says comments or add one. I always respond here.)
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