William Carlos Williams

(17 September 1883 – 4 March 1963 / New Jersey)

This Is Just To Say - Poem by William Carlos Williams

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

Comments about This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams

  • (8/27/2018 2:38:00 PM)

    This is not a comment, but a question. Does anyone know when (and where) the poem first appeared in print? (Report) Reply

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  • (6/1/2018 7:35:00 PM)

    One of the seminal poems (and poets) of the 20th Century. This poem establishes two important and separate signposts for future poets: 1: the title is part of the poem. This is Just to Say is both the title and first line of this poem; 2: it is acceptable to write a poem about an everyday experience (i.e. eating plums) that helps the reader live the experience along with the poet. Universal themes and short length - this is the start of (Report) Reply

  • (6/4/2016 1:28:00 PM)

    Plump, and

    Plump, and
    Waiting for
    Inhaled, and with glee
    Exhaled... The remnants
    Leaving an after taste
    (...and held onto less forgotten
    After time the chaser
    Leaves marks the throat forgets)

    Like a wheel barrow, red
    Frozen with linger the ploy
    The mind provides as if
    Death knew what to do anyway

    What do you notice,
    She asked
    He looked away and said
    Plump, and

    C Trevor Andres
    (Report) Reply

  • Smoky Hoss (1/9/2016 5:48:00 PM)

    The beauty of honesty is best stated directly and simply, thus at the heart truth is poetry, in it's own right.
    The message here is not regret, rather a confession to and for love.
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/1/2015 1:34:00 PM)

    I came to sit
    And ponder deeply
    the life of which
    I lived so sleeply

    alone at last
    some time to share
    a drift at peace
    with others fair

    Tomorrows world
    so proud and loud
    can lift you up
    onto the clouds

    -poems are hard
    (Report) Reply

  • Georgios Venetopoulos (9/17/2014 5:23:00 PM)

    This write cannot be called a poem. It is not even a piece of literature but only a random, very common thought. (Report) Reply

    (12/21/2017 10:52:00 AM)

    Who died and made you God? I'm confounded by statements like this. Why do you need a poem definition? Some of the most common thoughts and feelings have made the most profound poetry. Shall I part my hair behind?

  • Michelle Claus (9/17/2014 2:30:00 PM)

    I've read and heard this poem before. I'm not fond of this poem, because it always leaves me feeling like, And? I love simple verse - love it - but this one consistently renders me chilled and emptied, like the inside of the icebox. (Report) Reply

  • Michelle Claus (9/17/2014 2:28:00 PM)

    I've read and heard this poem before. I'm not fond of this poem, because it always leaves me feeling like, And? I love simple verse - love it - but this one consistently renders me chilled and emptied, like the inside of the icebox. (Report) Reply

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed (9/17/2014 3:14:00 AM)

    Desire to eat and confession to tease lovely one (Report) Reply

  • (6/22/2014 8:46:00 PM)

    ............you know why he ate those plums.....cause he was trying to get her attention.... (Report) Reply

  • (9/17/2013 8:08:00 PM)

    rather funny and cute. quite pleasant and relatable! (Report) Reply

  • (5/30/2013 11:26:00 AM)

    I saw this in either a high school or college text book and it stuck in my head because of its simplicity and sincerity. It also shows that simple notes can become poems. (Report) Reply

  • (9/17/2012 5:36:00 PM)

    A vignette. The poetry in a marital spat. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (9/17/2012 12:18:00 PM)

    Would from be better than that were in? The past tense in I have eaten implies the plums are no longer there.
    I quite like this poem. It has an ironic tone suggesting the kind of relationship Williams has with his wife(?) . It is a very 60s relationship in which the present pleasure overrides any moral sense. She will not leave him for the plums, but this incident bodes no good for the future if he carries this attitude into more serious concerns.
    (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee (9/17/2012 6:04:00 AM)

    Well, I like the poem the way it is...cute, nice...sounds like a note from someone who cares... (Report) Reply

  • (9/11/2012 11:51:00 AM)

    Written as though it were a note left on a kitchen table, Williams' poem appears to the reader like a piece of found poetry. Metrically, the poem exhibits no regularity of stress or of syllable count. Except for lines two and five (each an iamb) and lines eight and nine (each an amphibrach) , no two lines have the same metrical form. The consonance of the letters “Th” in lines two, three, and four, as well the consonance of the letter “F” in lines eight and nine, and the letter 'S' in lines eleven and twelve give rise to a natural rhythm when the poem is read aloud.
    A conspicuous lack of punctuation contributes to the poem’s tonal ambiguity. While the second stanza begins with a conjunction, implying a connection to the first stanza, the third stanza is separated from the first two by the capitalized “Forgive.” In a 1950 interview, John W. Gerber asked the poet what it is that makes This Is Just To Say a poem; Williams replied, In the first place, it's metrically absolutely regular... So, dogmatically speaking, it has to be a poem because it goes that way, don't you see! Critic Marjorie Perloff writes, on the page, the three little quatrains look alike; they have roughly the same physical shape. It is typography rather than any kind of phonemic recurrence that provides directions for the speaking voice (or for the eye that reads the lines silently) and that teases out the poem's meanings. Additionally, this typographical structure influences any subsequent interpretation on the part of the reader.
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/12/2010 10:31:00 AM)

    In reality, this isn't a poem but merely a couple of remarks. It never should've been seen (not to mention HAILED) as a poem. Its funny how WCW accused Eliot of taking poetry out of the hands of the 'people' through using dense language and obscure allusions. But I feel WCW did much more to ruin poetry's 'popularity' by ridding it of music and meter, by making it so plain as to be 'unmemorable.' At least Eliot kept the rhythms and the sense of meter. Williams changed the art of poetry completely - thus watering it down. -LP (Report) Reply

  • (4/19/2008 5:24:00 PM)

    I first saw this poem as a plaque on someones kitchen wall some 10 years ago.
    I thought then as now, this is so sweet...I would love someone who wrote it.
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/18/2007 1:58:00 PM)

    Well I think that it doesn't need to be prodded and examined by 'sucker, sheepheaded academics'... I quite like it just as a collection of words. It's sweet somehow. (Report) Reply

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# 142 poem on top 500 Poems

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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