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NaPoMo QOTD Because I Still Remember That Time My Brother Stole My Pop-Tarts

"Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold"
 - This Is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams*

So, I cheated a little on this one, but so did Norton. Williams never actually served as PoLau, but if he had, it would have been in 1952. Unfortunately, a stroke kept him from accepting his first invitation and some nasty anticommie babble citing him as a Red Threat a week after his appointment (and second invite) kept him from most of his term. I mean, seriously? The man was a pediatrician from Jersey and delivered over 2,000 babies. How freakin' American can you get? The publishing and writing world rallied behind him and he was finally able to take his post six weeks before the end of his term. A new Librarian was appointed (I smell more anticommie babble) and did not extend Williams' appointment, or appoint anyone to the position the next year. So, basically Williams' tenure as Consultant of Poetry consisted of him battling a series of strokes, battling a series of FBI investigations, and posing for his official picture. Thankfully, everyone is on the same page that he's an incredible poet and is indispensable to our nation's poetic identity.

What does this have to do with my brother stealing my Pop-Tarts 10 years ago? Supposedly, Williams left this poem on an ice box as a note to the owner of some plums. When Malachi (my mostly awesome brother) stole my Pop-Tarts, he left me a note in the box. His was much less poetic, but still reminiscent.

Since I read this poem in Ms. McKey's freshman English class, I have been magnetized to it. Maybe it's because it reminds me of Malachi. Maybe it's the ambiguity of its voice or its simplicity and heart. It just makes me smile. I don't know why, but this poem is my favorite poem in the history of poetry. It means something a little different each time I read it. I think that's the point of poetry. It isn't always exactly the same. Even in rigid formulaic poems, the meaning shifts from reader to reader, era to era. I think a good poem works in three stages. First, it strikes you. Then, it sinks in. Finally, it's absorbed into your marrow.

*From The Poets Laureate Anthology, published by W.W. Norton in association with the Library of Congress. Poem copyright William Carlos Williams.


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