Skip to content

Tragedy at the circus

April 25, 2008

Readersguide has just linked to a post over at somewhere in the suburbs about This American Life’s spoofs of William Carlos Willams’ “This is Just to Say.” This poem is, as somewhere in the suburbs points out, a very easy target for parody.

The original:

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

And my own parody, much too wordy in the last stanza and based on an actual event:

This is just to say

I have run over
your bicycle
that was in
the garage

and which
you were probably
to ride with your friends

Forgive me
but if you had put it away
like I asked you to six times
it would not now be
so flat
and so broken

What do you say, any takers?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. The Lass permalink
    April 25, 2008 4:42 pm

    Oooh! I wanna play but it will have to wait til Monday.

  2. Katie permalink
    April 25, 2008 6:12 pm

    I wish my parents had posted slightly sarcastic satirical versions of classic poems instead of nagging after my misdeeds.

    Something there is that does not love a bike,
    That sends the great big blue van over it,
    And spills its chain and handlebars down the drive,
    And makes Mom mad you didn’t put it back.

    I could go on, but it’s a long poem. (Forgive me the meter, the syllables are right but the stresses aren’t. Also, forgive me if it’s not a big blue van, but it fit.)

  3. Katie permalink
    April 25, 2008 6:13 pm

    Oh, poo, I just made another bike squashing spoof, rather than a WCW spoof. Oh well, I’m better with Frost anyway.

  4. April 25, 2008 6:34 pm

    That works beautifully, Katie. And amazingly, it IS a big blue van. A big blue van with very poor sightlines out the back.

  5. LSM permalink
    April 25, 2008 8:42 pm

    Loved your version! Should I admit I once ran over my husband’s bike? Which he had NOT left out of place? Probably not. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Suburbia.

  6. eleanorio permalink
    April 25, 2008 9:06 pm


  7. April 26, 2008 8:44 am

    This is just to say

    I have erased
    Hannah Montana
    And The Suite Life

  8. April 26, 2008 8:45 am

    This is just to say

    I have erased
    Hannah Montana
    And The Suite Life
    Of Zach And Cody

    and which
    you were probably
    going to watch

    Forgive me
    But you hit your sister
    No TV
    until Monday

  9. April 26, 2008 9:50 am

    This Is Just To Say

    I have stolen
    The Red Wheel
    Barrow in
    The back yard

    And which
    I know was part
    of a poem
    you wrote.

    Forgive me
    The chickens were delicious
    so tender
    and so savory.

  10. April 26, 2008 6:43 pm

    This Is Just To Say

    I have thrown away
    The ragged rawhide
    That I know
    You love to gnaw

    And which
    You have chewed
    Until soggily
    Unpleasant underfoot

    Forgive me
    Later this evening
    I will prepare your kibble
    With pot-roast flavored sauce

  11. The Lass permalink
    April 27, 2008 5:52 pm

    This Is Just To Say

    I have tried and failed
    to rewrite this thing
    That you posted

    And which
    So many others
    Have so brilliantly

    Forgive me
    But I suck at this
    And have clogged your comments
    With this tripe.

  12. April 28, 2008 8:16 am

    Kenneth Koch has a poem called Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams, which consists entirely of parodies of that poem:
    I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
    I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
    and its wooden beams were so inviting.
    We laughed at the hollyhocks together
    and then I sprayed them with lye.
    Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.
    I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years.
    The man who asked for it was shabby
    and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.
    Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
    Forgive me. I was clumsy, and
    I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!

  13. April 28, 2008 4:23 pm

    This Is Just To Say

    that I have erased
    the hard drive of the computer
    you left on your desk

    on which you stored
    all the poems you wrote
    about wheelbarrows and chickens

    Forgive me
    they were so precious and
    I am fond of simple clarity

  14. April 30, 2008 12:28 am


    this is just to say

    i have taken
    your husband
    as a lover
    and i know you need him.
    but last night
    i needed
    him too.
    he has a gentle touch,
    and i can
    clearly see,
    how you two are so

  15. April 30, 2008 7:23 pm

    Thanks for all the contributions. You guys are amazing and literate and funny as hell. And Michelle, thanks for reading/commenting. Yours is lovely.

  16. May 4, 2008 3:47 pm

    This is just to say
    That after three months
    Sailing the coast of Mexico
    It would be fine with me
    If I never see
    That boat again.

    You were probably looking forward
    To our next voyage, in a month or two or three
    When I might be ready to go again
    And all I can say is
    Maybe in another lifetime.


  1. This is just to say « spynotes
  2. This is Just to Say… « We Came Along with a Hammer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: