On a particularly slow and boring evening, I happened to breeze through this site on my way to nowhere (side note: the post from June 18th is about the linotype; all of my graduate work was done in a building named after its inventor, Mergenthaler), and was reminded of a poem that has been a favorite since I read it in high school. I’m not usually a fan of William Carlos Williams—his “poem” about the red wheelbarrow has annoyed me for a long, long time—but his poem about the chilled plums is exquisite:

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

Lawless said something today about how the poem itself resembled a plum, so I tried to eat it when I got home but was underwhelmed with the comparison. It seemed to make sense when he said it, though. You’ll have to ask him for clarification.

I also found an homage of sorts.

2 responses to “Plums”

  1. How a poem can be a plum:

    First and foremost, if you actually ate the poem to test my comparison, I apologize. I tried it as well and found it to be tough and a little bitter.

    That aside, I’d like to clarify what is plummy about this poem. The easiest comparison is size, both being small; however, that would make WCW’s book of poetry a collection of plums. So, a couple of more items: the poem is sweet and guilty (guilt tastes sour). Joking aside, plums (and, generally, sour tasting treats) are unpleasant in a pleasant way.

    I would also say that the poem reads like eating a plum. The first two stanzas are large bites while the last is comprised of many small nibbles.

    Finally, the most obvious comparison is that they are both purple.

  2. Arighty that poem had a major major impression upon me- the images hit- and the senses- and this was like the week or so of some TS Elliot exerpts so – the difference ya know…