This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, is an amazing book. The poems are written by a sixth grade class working on a poetry unit, inspired by “This Is Just to Say,” by William Carlos Williams, which has long been one of my favorites. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the poems. Kids can be amazingly talented and they can also be regular kids. The class that wrote these poems are amazingly talented regular kids. I didn’t expect to feel the pull of emotion that I did. I certainly didn’t expect my eyes to well up, even though I am an overly sentimental person. (I cry in the card isle). But I laughed, and I was sad, and I was angered by the things these poems were apologies for. And I was inspired.
In college I took several writing classes, one of which spent a fair amount of time on poetry. I dug through the drawers and file boxes in my study until I found the beat up flash drive that I thought had my college work on it and was surprised at what I found. Some of the poems were awful, mostly because they were about love, and I was in college and clearly lacked perspective. But I’ve decided to share some of them here with you. One at a time, I think, and possibly in the order in which they were written, because why not, and then maybe I’ll inspire myself into more poetry.
The plum is the grandmother, the matriarch of the family. She is small and round, shrunken with age. A tough bitter skin surrounds a cool inside, sweet and tangy with love, holding the family together.
Baby apricot shrieks with joy and rage. Small and fuzzy, he quivers with energy. His tart temperament comes through when Plum neglects him.
TheOrangeadores her baby Apricot. She sits in the sun, round and juicy, contemplating existence and motherhood. She relaxes, waiting for someone, not necessarily her husband, to peel her.
Pomegranate Papa sits smoking his illegal Cuban cigars. His is rough and rigid, full of seeds, and deplores hisOrange’s laziness. He loves to peel her, knowing that she despises him.
Also, if you’ve never read “This Is Just to Say,” by William Carlos Williams, go do it. Now.