This is Just to Say

I have always loved WCW, and this has been one of his most fascinating poems for me since I first read it in high school. What makes it so compelling is its ostensible simplicity and lack of context, as well as, of course, his legendary lack of syntactical breaks. If the poem’s intention is truly “just to say”, then it is beautiful in its simplicity – an artistic representation of an every day occurrence; a note that does more than just inform. But this poem is always being audited for some sort of sexual meaning. To assume this sort of dual meaning certainly isn’t outlandish. Williams fuses sexual imagery with symbolic fruit all the time (i.e. in Portrait of a Lady). So, is this a sort of admittance of giving in to temptation, or deflowering a woman? Why does the poem end with the word “cold”? Does the way he separates his sentences lend extra meaning to any other words?


Does the sensual interpretation of this poem suffice? Is there another, better interpretation? Is it most effective when read simply as a note about plums? Have you guys noticed that this year Sodexo has been putting plums in the fruit basket sometimes?

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2 Responses to This is Just to Say

  1. cjones13 says:

    I believe that people are looking for a sexual meaning to the poem, where I dont think there needs to be. Like you, I love the outright simplicity of this poem; its one of it’s greatest quality’s. I’ve heard how people are always saying that it has some sort of hidden sexual meaning, but I always have seen it as very real and sweet, no pun intended. I believe its real, becasue everyone has done it….taken something from the fridge and left a note saying how they couldnt resist eating something(personally, I always would claim that the devil made me do it….my mother was never too thrilled). Of course, it could be sexual, I guess, but I like to look at it as a small portion of time that William Carlos William’s has caputured from everyday life.

  2. cjones13 says:

    oh and yeah, I was so excited about the plums, but have you had one? Mine were always way too soft 😦

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