Humor / Poetry / The English Teacher

Clever Never Gets Old

Poets talk to each other, you know. Across centuries, and nations, and some of them, more simply across a pub table and a pint, I’m sure. (I give you the Inklings, obviously, but the Fireside poets might work nicely as an example too.)

The other day, William Carlos Williams featured in the daily offering here. His “Red Wheelbarrow” rivals his “This Is Just to Say” as top contenders for ways to have ‘fun in English class.’ Watch:

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 

Williams wrote “This Is Just to Say” in 1934. Again, the imagery is lovely, and the poem is known for it. Again, the lines offer ambiguity as their main course, and much can be interpreted, if you like. Simply, though — who hasn’t left a note on the fridge (or counter top) saying some version of ‘I ate what you were saving. Ooops — sorry!’ and rub it in with a, ‘man! was it good!!’

In 2003, A poet named F.J. Bergmann had a bit of fun of his own with images, with a lauded poet, and with parody (a high form of flattery? 🙂 ) —

An Apology

Forgive me

for backing over

and smashing

your red wheelbarrow.


It was raining

and the rear wiper

does not work on

my new plum-colored SUV.


I am also sorry

about the white



This makes me laugh, every time. Rain, chickens, plums, a wheelbarrow and an SUV. And don’t forget the apology.

Poets are clever, you know. Read enough, and you’ll find all manner of heady conversations crossing paths. Give it enough of a chance and you’ll find yourself laughing, and loving poetry that crosses your path.

Cross my heart.

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