Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's All Poetry To Me

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.

-- William Carlos Williams

According to T.S. Eliot, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”  I couldn't have said it better myself.  This poem says things to me about love and the everyday like no other poem can.  I cannot fully explain it.  I remember in college, students would expound about how this poem was about the first sin of Eve, or how the poet was not genuinely sorry - look at how he says "forgive me" like a command.  I could see how they would derive those meanings from the few words said and the many words not said, but I never "got it."   

I have had family and roommates eat my food - food I was looking forward to eating - only to go for it and find out it's gone, to my dismay and bewilderment.  Annoyance sets in and confrontation ensues.  How much nicer it would have been! if the culprit left a simple note alerting me to the indulgence, instead of making tracks.  What is more, I actually wouldn't mind if I knew that the person enjoyed eating it.

The way I see it, there can be love in something as small as taking a small piece of fruit you know tu novia is saving.  And though you may feel bad, it was the best thing you'd tasted at that moment (maybe it just tastes better when taken from the cache of your beloved?).  It may even remind you of her in each bite.  And she may call you a jerk for eating it but she'll love you and forgive you all the same.

It seems such a simple, mundane thing to put in a poem ... but then isn't it the simple, mundane things that fill up our hearts?  All I know is I love this poem.  It's definitely one of my favorites because of it's simplicity.  So, of course, I had to share.  =)


  1. i love this poem too, thanks for reminding me of it this morning :)

  2. That was a really beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.


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