please read, any feedback is appreciated. I will read yours write away. This essay is about my favorite anything, so I wrote about my favorite poem.
Nearly a decade ago, I ventured upon the poem "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams. At that time, my young mind took in the twenty-eight words of text in a literal sense, thinking that the poet was earnestly apologizing for eating fruits left in the refrigerator. The poem is as follows:
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
I kept the piece in my thoughts, sometimes rereading it for eccentric inspiration while writing and at other times, for a chuckle at its absurdity. The lack of punctuation was initially frustrating to me. How was one supposed to follow the author's thoughts and understand the true significance of the poem? "It's meaningless," I would sometimes say, dismissing the poem in its entirety.
In that last decade, I have gained invaluable experiences that now allow me to understand the poem in a way that relates to my life. New opportunities can be frightening, yet appealing and gratifying. The juxtaposition of the words sweet and cold seem to symbolize the plums, fruits of desire, as alluring, yet unwelcoming. These two words give the impression that the author's mind is trying to understand whether the opportunity to eat the plums is worth it. The coldness seems to represent the terrifying aspects of change or action, while the sweetness is the knowledge of how great its fruit could be. The poem now strikes my heart as a call for personal growth and self-discovery. It is the creative spark that changes the world, not the person bound by convention. "Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself," as one playwright once said.
The poem does not give away possible meanings directly. Ten people may read it and derive ten different meanings from it. Therein lays its beauty. Each reader receives a secret message, shaped by his or her experiences and opinions. While Williams may have been frightened to seize the plums, he does so anyway. He asks for forgiveness, and he does not hide his actions. To me, these twelve lines are a call to people to live in the moment. I do not see this poem as an opportunity to commit crime or severe offense, but a declaration to yank open those closed doors in our lives.
Today, the only absurdity I find with this poem is the extent to which it can relate to the modern world. It enables the reader to sympathize with a situation in a few simple lines. The poet apologizes, but he does not regret his actions; in fact, he says that the plums were delicious. Most everyone has overcome a fearsome moment. Yet, would they not do it again for the rewards? Maybe one must eat through the coldness in order to achieve the sweetness. I have faced many situations such as these, often having to make that difficult decision. Sometimes, the chances we are given are all that they seem to be and at other times, I realize that it may be best not to pursue them. Is the fear of failure or giving in always a terrible concept? Maybe the the moments when we concede to our attractions are the moments during which we are most vibrant and alive. Maybe there should be a balance between the succulent plums and restraint, as self-control is one of the strongest traits a person can have. However, life is lived once, and plums are "delicious, so sweet and so cold."
Or maybe Williams is laughing in his grave, amused at people trying to analyze a poem so simple and logical. Quite possibly it is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written because it represents that we as humans, try to find a deeper meaning in everything, because meaning gives us a sense of fulfillment.
Either way, Carpe diem everyone.