In re: “This is just to say”

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

‘This is just to say’ is a famous poem by William Carlos Williams that you may have come across in an englishclass long ago, I hadn’t heard it in a long time, although I was reminded recently why it is such a phenomenal poem by a great 6 minute segment on This American Life. Check out the episode Mistakes Were Made (description below) at

“Mistakes Were Made – Act Two. You’re Willing to Sacrifice Our Love.

There’s a famous William Carlos Williams poem called “This is Just to Say”. It’s about, among other things, causing a loved one inconvenience and offering a non-apologizing apology. It’s only three lines long, you’ve probably read it…the one about eating the plums in the icebox. Marketplace reporter (and published poet) Sean Cole explains that this is possibly the most spoofed poem around. We asked some of our regular contributors to get into the act. Sarah Vowell, David Rakoff, Starlee Kine, Jonathan Goldstein, Shalom Auslander and Heather O’Neill, all came upwith their own variations of Williams’s classic lines. (6 minutes)”


One Response

  1. Teaching this today and trying to find the text of the poems from this episode (I hate transcribing). How fun that my Google search brought me here.

    Where is your spoof? This is another one that begs to be written in Charlie’s voice.

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