This Is Just To Say

Christy McWilson

Here’s a short little poem by William Carlos Williams that I set to music. It’s sung by Christy McWilson. Play it and ask students to write down what they hear. They should get the whole poem down in a few listenings.

This Is Just To Say

This is just to say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

Follow-up: Use this poem as a model. It’s really a kind of apology, although I’m not sure if the speaker in the poem really feels very sorry.

Below is the basic layout of the poem – only the specifics have been eliminated; students should supply their own. They can create a similar admission of guilt. Like, “I have eaten the birthday cake…” and so on.

This is just to say
I have … that …
and which … .
Forgive me … .

And here’s a new poem generated with the model:

This is just to say
I have ridden
the bicycle
that you bought
only yesterday

and which
you wanted to ride
yourself
for the first time.

Forgive me
the ride was so smooth
and the seat so soft.

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