Poem of the Week: 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 is an imagist poem where what you see is what you get: a passive aggressive plum pilferer, probably scrawling this as a note while licking the plum juice off his fingers. The plural, “plums,” bugs me because he could have left her at least one, and still indulged his temptation in a halfway decent way. Some people say that this poem implies a level of intimacy between the narrator and his wife since he could predict what his wife would do with the plums. I personally think it implies the opposite. He may know her motivations and desires, but I think the intimacy from that is canceled out by the fact that he would sabotage a simple pleasure at the start of her day and then offer this smarmy, mocking apology. If this was written in the age of Twitter, he probably would have added a “Sorry Not Sorry” hashtag at the bottom. As annoying as it is, I still felt compelled to highlight this poem because it makes me smile at the same time. I have a thing for poems that can cause that kind of tension.

Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/245576
Photo: Plums, by Andy Price via Flickr Creative Commons