Sunday Night Journal, January 21, 2018
Sunday Night Journal, January 28, 2018

52 Poems, Week 4: This Is Just to Say (Williams)

This has got to be one of my favorites:

This Is Just To Say 

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

(1934, William Carlos Williams, 1883 – 1963)

Those last three lines are exhilarating, with the “-cious,” “sw-“ and “so cold.” He didn’t even have to say “juicy.”

Each stanza has four beats by my count, making it more formal than free verse (which I don’t usually care for). The first two stanzas have twelve syllables; the third has thirteen—giving it the emphasis.

I also like how the title is part of the poem.

Was he really sorry?

Week 4-plums-1574651_1280

—Robert Gotcher is a theologian from Milwaukee, where he and his wife have been raising their seven children, five of whom are out of the house, more or less. He is a recovering Beatlemaniac.


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No, he wasn't sorry.

It was a rhetorical question.

I know, but I thought it merited an answer anyway.

For emphasis. :-)

Poems like this are so impressive in their simplicity.

I have of late been on the other side of this poem--but it was pears.


Oh good, now you can write one of those "herstory" versions of a famous work, like the novels about Captain Ahab's wife and St. Augustine's girlfriend.

I can't believe that you actually think I'm capable of writing anything anymore. ;-)


Such a fine poem

Yes. It's a gimmick, but it works. I was wondering whether the editors of my old Selected Poems of Williams considered it worthy of inclusion, and they do.

Janet, I'm sure you are, but now that you mention it you may not be the right person. It needs an angry feminist to fully draw out all the oppression implicit in the poem.

If anything can raise me to that level of anger, it would be going to the fridge for some tasty morsel that I had been anticipating all day and finding that someone had been there before me. That would not be specifically feminine, though, more in line with that of the Hulk.


The feminist angle would consist not so much in the anger about the loss of the morsel but in placing the incident within a grand historical narrative of men's mistreatment of women, and being angry about that. That might be less spectacular than the Hulk-like rage, but it would keep indefinitely.:-)

I have actually started a poem post, but my progeny interrupted. I should have some time to finish it soon.


I have actually
--by Janet Cupo

started a poem post,
but my progeny
I should have some time
to finish it

Would you like to collaborate, Robert?


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