False Apology Poems

A book of False Apology poems for young readers.

Yesterday I wrote about the poetic form called the reverso.  I even shared my own attempt with you although I think it is majorly bad.



And today’s attempt looked just as bad until I had an epiphany.

Have you ever done something and felt compelled to apologize in spite of your lack of sympathy?  That’s basically the point of a False Apology poem.

False apology poems are inspired by the poem that William Carlos Williams penned after eating the plums his wife was saving for breakfast.


This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

The rules are simple — you have to apologize for something and not really mean it.  Think insincerity.  Or sarcasm.

Throughout my first attempt at a false apology poem I kept thinking, “I don’t apologize if I’m being insincere.  I don’t even bother.”  And, thus, my first attempt was stinko.

Then it hit me — depending on how you do insincerity it can be an awful lot like sarcasm.  I live and breathe sarcasm.  Suddenly it looked much more do-able.

In a false apology poem, you’re supposed to be a little mean.  That said,  William Carlos Williams’ poem doesn’t seem even a little mean to me.  Nope.  Not happening.

His poem is three stanzas of four lines each and all of the other false apology poems I’ve read follow this pattern.

Here is my second attempt – much, much better than my first attempt.  This is a frustrated parent poem.  Sorry folks, this is just where things stand today.


They Feel Responsible

You can’t find
your DS?
It’s missing?

It must
have run away
with your

They were so sad
when they heard
you got a D
on a test.

Not great but then I never claimed poetry as a talent!


7 thoughts on “False Apology Poems

  1. I have a poem to share ok
    The Big Sting Ray

    The big sting ray was slimy
    with a fishy smell

    I wish I could see it again
    or at least say fairwell

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