In Case you were Wondering about the Plums

My mom used to shrug off indulgence with a poem.

“This is just to say”,  she would murmur, as she sliced the dense chocolate cake frosted with thick fudge that we’d peel off and eat in slabs.

“So sweet/and so cold”, I would finish, reaching around her to sliver off my own corner of the cake we had made together.  We would grin at each other while we licked our fingers.

Here’s the whole poem.  It’s by William Carlos Williams:

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




That poem is my childhood in twelve lines.


Cynics complain that William Carlos Williams didn’t give us a proper poem. Why doesn’t it rhyme?  they whine.

Aren’t poems supposed to MEAN something? they gripe.

And that’s fine because some people need rhymes to measure, and allegories to untangle, and trees packed with forbidden fruit to temper life’s pleasures.  But hear me out:

“This is Just to Say” is more than what it seems.

(Aren’t we all?)

It’s impulse. Indulgence. And contrition.

It’s the honesty of taking what you want and the courage it takes to ask your family’s forgiveness for the person you have become.

It’s nothing.  It’s everything.

In this blog, I write about moments–experiences with my family, encounters while traveling, brief fireworks of clarity.

The entries are confessions, complaints and celebrations.  Hopefully some of them are more than what they seem.

Mostly, I hope all of them are honest, because that’s the hardest part.

Thanks for coming.  Enjoy your stay.IMG_0629


6 Replies to “In Case you were Wondering about the Plums”

  1. This is brilliant, girlfriend. Poignant and funny and smart, like all of your work. Have you read WILD? I just finished it. I think you might like it, and it hints at possible frameworks for something longer. Read it and let’s discuss?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That poem is forever “your mom”….We shared it with our students and used it to introduce a unit on poetry that we taught in Malawi and Uganda! Fun memories.
    And, the book, Wild, is a great read. You might also like The Yellow Envelope, by Kim Dinan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As you know, I love your writing…all of it. And I love you. And as you can see, the Reply function is working perfectly now. Iceboxplums is (are?) launched! And so are you. (Well, you’ve been launched for YEARS, but now from a new platform.) Hooray! Write on and fly far, my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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