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William Carlos Williams' "This is Just to Say"

"they were delicious/ so sweet/ and so cold"
"they were delicious/ so sweet/ and so cold"

"This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams

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

People often disregard poetry as something with no bearing on their lives. They think that it is full of unimportant verbiage and outdated themes. Imagist poetry, however, is quite the opposite. This style of verse truly encompasses the everyday, even the mundane. The goal of imagist poets is to capture one moment, one image of a day. Imagist poetry is great for the type of people mentioned above, or for anyone trying to get into poetry, because it is simply a picture to appreciate; it is not wordy or overly descriptive.

The above poem paints a clear picture. The reader can feel and sympathize with the situation. Williams simply gives the reader an image, and within the image the appealing nature of the plums is obvious, as is the situation of apology Williams sets up. Williams’ goal was not to make a statement, but rather to capture a moment. The lack of punctuation makes the poem more like a sketch- a written painting, going right along with the imagist goal.

Williams’ poetry is refreshing to read because of its simplicity. Literary analysis can often be painstaking; one must extract every bit of meaning from a poem. Imagist poetry, however, is created out of the “what you see is what you get” mentality. Life is made up of moments, moments like the one he has captured in This is Just to Say. These moments are the cornerstone of the human experience, for this reason imagist verse can have a tremendous amount of impact.


  • Alyssa 5 years ago

    This is awesome! I'm so proud of you! :)

  • Shari 5 years ago

    Great article! Imagist poetry seems like it would be useful in the elementary level. Trying to get young children to write is difficult. This might be the trick! Thanks.

  • rc 5 years ago


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