[ # 87 of My Favourite Short Poems ]
Q. When is a mundane note not just a mundane note?
Q. When is a mundane note a poem?
Q. When is a scribbled note stuck on the fridge door to your wife a poem?
A. When William Carlos Williams writes it – as he did here, as long ago as 1934, when it suddenly became, in 21st century jargon, ‘viral’.
The more times I read the poem below, the more I am able to see the depth in it.
Contentment in a relationship, acceptance, ease, familiarity, intimacy and even love are all here.
Note how pointedly the title becomes the first line . . .
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
The effect of this poem may be enhanced by watching and listening to this YouTube video in which Matthew Macfadyen reads the poem ‘This Is Just To Say’
William Carlos Williams ( 1883 – 1963 ) had an English father and a Puerto Rican mother. He grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey. He was an American poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. He was also a physician practising both paediatrics and general medicine. With Ezra Pound and H.D.Williams he was a leading poet of the Imagist movement and often wrote of American subjects and themes. He became an inspiration to the Beat generation in the 1950s and 60s. As in the poem above, his poetry was often domestic in focus and was described as “remarkable for its empathy, sympathy, its muscular and emotional identification with its subjects.”
As you say Roland, a poem of great depth, what strikes me is the ‘cheekiness’, the humour and therefore fun that is a part of his relationship. We have a similar family vibe where if my wife and kids have some treat waiting I’ll move it pretending to have eaten it claiming it was fair game as it wasn’t marked D.N.A (dad not allowed). They never seem to tire of it, well the kids anyway !
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Great to have my Tyke friend back. I was concerned about you, Nigel, and about to try to make email contact. Thank you for your usual perceptive comment.
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