5 07 2008

I find the Midwestern summer heat and humidity tough to live with, but there is some small reward to be found at the Farmers Market. This morning I bought fresh fennel, onions, new potatoes, eggs, hamburger, zucchini, beets, apricots and plums. Everything is grown within about 20 miles of Lawrence, by people who are eating the same food that they sell. It’s all wonderful stuff, but the plums are so sweet and juicy, just like a plum ought to be. Which reminds me 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





2 responses

5 07 2008

I’m quite fond of Kenneth Koch’s variations on WCW’s poem.

6 07 2008

That is a lovely poem. It is a variation of the doctrine of “confession and avoidance”: yes, I did in fact commit the bad act, but I should not suffer any punishment therefor because . . . . ” In this case the “because” is the poem’s beautifully rendered eleocution.

It’s odd, isn’t it? The language is so beautiful but the effect is merely to rub in the loss:

“they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold”

It is as though someone stole your beloved old guitar and said “yes, I did it, and it played so well and I got so much money for it . . . . ”

Poets are perverse, like the rest of us.

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