Late Night Poetry: This is Just to Say

Well hello! I see you are also awake at this ungodly hour. (Too bad about that. Warm milk, maybe?)

As you know by now — or you are discovering as we speak — we have a recurring feature here at The Skinny called¬†Late Night Poetry¬† (our motto: Enough Weirdo Sleep-Disturbing Dreams Already).

Today’s poem is one of the most parodied in poem history. Can you guess what it is? I think I hear you cracking up a little before I even say it. That’s right! I give you: William Carlos’ Williams’ This is Just to Say…

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

And this is the brilliant and perhaps most famous parody of the poem, Kenneth Koch’s “Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams”.

Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams

by 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!

Pretty fabu, no? Perhaps I am simply easily amused, but I think it’s hilarious. Actually laughed out loud. (In real life.)

But wait! There’s more! Many, many, many, MANY more. So many, in fact, that there’s at least one Tumblr site devoted to amateur parodies of this poem. Visit here to scroll through, or post your own.

One of my favorites posted at that site is this one:

This is just to say

I have recounted
The butterfly ballots
That were in
Florida.

And which
You probably
Thought
Were cast invalidly.

Forgive me
They were my majority
So sweet
And so close.

by Fiasco de Gama in this post

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