Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This is just to say

When Prof. Dr. Shirley Lim (writer of Monsoon History, among others) came to our uni to share on Asian American Literature, she shared this poem by William Carlos Williams with us:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were so delicious
so sweet
and so cold

When she taught poetry to students (under the Budding Poets Society) in Hong Kong (I may be wrong about this information, it was a long time ago), she instructed them to use that format in the poem and come out with their own version. She actually wanted to do that with us but we ran out of time. 

I took it on myself to give it a go, but there were two problems. First, I was writing it during a boring athletic lecture, and second, I was starving. As in, really, really, REALLY hungry. 

And so I ended up with these two variations:

This is just to say (V1)

I have eaten
the stray cat
that walks around
our five-foot way

And which
you were trying
to keep as a pet.

Forgive me
It was so fluffy
it poo-ed all over the garden
and I was very hungry.

This is just to say (V2)

I have forgotten
the hunger I've had
that gnawed at my soul
and haunted my dreams

And which
I was using
to drive on my ideals.

Forgive me
it was so intense
and so overwhelming
but the desire has disappeared.

I might give it a shot some other time. My blogging spree continues....

Oh yes, she made me very interested in Asian American literature after that. Trying to hunt them up in the library to read. She also did her own variation of this poem, which was hilarious and witty, but I didn't manage to write it down. Sigh.

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