Analysis of “This Is Just To Say” Poem by William Carlos Williams

This is Just to Say

“This is Just To Say” is one of William Carlos Williams most fascinating works. In this article, we will take a look at a synopsis and analysis of the poem and then go into the figurative language the poet uses. Finally, we will take a look at the poem itself.


This poem is written like a note William Carlos Williams would write for his refrigerator in his doctor’s office for one of the nurses or partners. It is simply an apology letter for eating someone’s delicious plums.


There is no hidden message. There is no additional information you need to know. This is exactly what it is, an apology letter for eating someone’s plums. If you must know more about the background, well, Williams is a doctor. He obviously doesn’t have much leisure time. When he was able to write, for whatever reason, it became popular. This, to me, doesn’t even seem too much like an actual poem.

Nonetheless, we can all relate to this note. That is actually where the real “art” and “poetic form” is placed. It is something we have all done. It is something that we can easily see ourselves writing. This is the very definition of “pop poetry” and the key behind the present day contemporary poetry free-style.

Poem: “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

Reader’s Reaction

As I read this story I immediately thought of my ex-roommate. The difference is that my ex-roommate wouldn’t leave a note or even tell me when he ate the last or drank the last of something in the fridge. Gosh, I’d get so upset with him, especially when he drank the rest of my milk and I wanted to nice cold bowl of cereal after a long day.

I’ve never eaten someone else’s food without asking, except when I was a small child (does that count?). However, I know many who have done this and I must say, I imagine William Carlos Williams (what a name!) got the emotions and feelings exactly right–sorry, but not sorry!

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia. Get his newest poetry eBook here.

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