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
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
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.