Saturday, 5 October 2019

detail & parody

Via Kottke, we find ourselves challenged to a bit of scansion and poetic graffiti in physician and writer William Carlos Williams’ (*1883 – †1963) 1932 modern, imagist kitchen table note “This Is Just to Say.”  Its perfectly self-consistent typographical structure, which reads more like the accidental symmetry of found poetry, makes the intensifier seem out of place anywhere. Williams’ wife, Florence (Flossie) nรฉe Herman (*1891 – †1976), herself penned a “reply” some years later—which I think far and away is the best “none-of-the-above” responses:

Dear Bill: I’ve made a
couple of sandwiches for you.
In the ice-box you’ll find
blue-berries—a cup of grapefruit
a glass of cold coffee.

On the stove is the tea-pot
with enough tea leaves
for you to make tea if you
prefer—Just light the gas—
boil the water and put it in the tea

Plenty of bread in the bread-box
and butter and eggs—
I didn’t know just what to make for you. Several people
called up about office hours—

See you later. Love. Floss.

Please switch off the telephone.