This is Just to Say

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month, I decided to try two things. One was to try and start each school day with a poem. The other was to concentrate on one poet. In a completely random and non-systematic way I chose William Carlos Williams to concentrate on, for no other reason than that I like him. Which is as good a reason as any to share poetry with your kids, I suppose. We’ve enjoyed reading through some of the poems in the above anthology together. A few times I had the boys close their eyes and try to really picture what Williams is describing. Many of his poems paint a very vivid word picture and it was easy for the boys to appreciate his poetry that way.

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

We also read Williams’ famous apology poem. I have always loved this poem. My reading of it is that it’s a heartfelt but somewhat conflicted apology as Williams asks his wife for forgiveness while realizing that part of him is not regretful. I think of it as a condensed story of marriage. We hurt each other in small daily ways, ask for forgiveness and realize our own shortcomings. I imagine his wife reading his apology, knowing her husband will likely eat the plums next time too, but loving him all the same.

Gail Carson Levine has a different take on Williams’ famous poem. A deliciously wicked take. In this new book, she offers her own variations of false apologies. Some are about everyday situations, many are from the perspective of various well-known fairytale characters. One of my favorites:

This is Just to Say

You may be jumping around
and skipping
in this book

I actually
spent ten years

Forgive me
I put the curse of the mummy
on anyone
who reads out of order

The twisted poems are accompanied by equally twisted illustrations by Matthew Cordell. I have to admit I found this book really hilarious. I imagine it will appeal to a very specific sense of humor. My kids found it mildly amusing. I found it much funnier which may say more about my sense of humor than anything.

Poetry Friday is hosted this week at Random Noodling.

6 thoughts on “This is Just to Say

  1. This sounds like such a funny book. I put it on my wish list.


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