Reading: This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams

Something light and exhilarating today. William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was a New York poet important voice of modernism and symbolism, who was celebrated by Ginsberg and the Beats for his accessibility. For our growing anthology, I read what is probably the most famous post-it note of American culture:

This is just to say
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

I was considering this poem alongside the famous “Red Wheelbarrow” (upon which much depends, glazed in rain, besides the white chickens etc). This one is a bit funnier. So, what is there to say? Ice cold plums for breakfast? Do I have to look up the meaning of the plum in historical symbolism?

The plumeater had planned to spend the night with a woman but left early because of some disappointment. The woman might have been sweet and cold, and hence, inedible, so WCW helped himself and devoured her plums. What turns a man off in a frigid woman can captivate us when it appears as fruit that a man can bite in. Such is my highly subjective masculine reading of this scribble, what’s yours?

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