Poetry and Refrigerators

The next time you open the fridge, think of this poem:

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

Here’s why I hate William Carlos Williams: he makes it look so easy. To write a great poem, all you have to do is open a box of magnetic poetry words, throw them against the refrigerator door, and – PRESTO – you have a good poem. What’s all the whining about? Why waste your money on an MFA?

What a jerk. Let me show you my icebox poem:

This is Just to Say
I want to eat
the half browned banana
you were saving
for tomorrow morning’s

it doesn’t look that appetizing
but I’m really hungry

did you shave
in the refrigerator this morning
or are those strawberry hairs
on the top shelf
next to the eggs?

I admire your
healthy breakfast
and the glop of yogurt
you leave in the sink
makes me love you

See? It IS hard to write a good poem – but kind of fun to write a bad one. Go ahead – try it.


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