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This Is Just To Say

This Is Just to Say
— 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


If you google "this is just to say spoof", you will find that the above William Carlos Williams poem is often spoofed. One of my favourite spoofs of this poem is Kenneth Koch's:

Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams
— 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!


The Palinode went rogue with it, but he makes me laugh, so here's his go at the concept:

This is just to say
That I set that wild bear loose in your kitchen
That you were tormenting all last week
And which you wanted to sell to the Chinese
Forgive me
It looked so angry
And hungry
And I never liked you that much
Anyway

I found the spoof idea compelling, and so I decided to try my hand at a few:

I did not sweep the front entrance this afternoon,
despite the distasteful amount of cat litter.
Forgive me. I was distracted by Tyra Banks.

I forgot the butter cookies in the oven.
Aprons can be so sexually distracting.
Forgive me. Some things are more important than sweets.

I picked all your daisy petals in the front yard,
but they never delivered the answer I sought.
Forgive me. I once more fell in love without you.


William Carlos Williams' poem is structured into three verses, but it is basically three alexandrine (12-syllable) lines, which makes it an extremely easy form to follow. I've been walking around all morning chattering away at myself in my head in 36-syllable spurts, confessing to minor evils and tossing out meaningless entreaties for forgiveness like a bad three-year-old. You should give it a shot. It's strangely addicting.

Leave William Carlos Williams spoofs in the comments,
because I said so, and you should do what I say.
Forgive me. I'm selfish and want entertainment.

Have at it!

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