One Writer’s Journey

June 7, 2019

False Apology Poem

I am not a poet.  Every now and again I read poetry especially the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye.  Then there are the days I attempt poetry.  One of my favorite forms is the false apology poem. Have you ever done something and felt compelled to apologize although you didn’t mean it?  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.  One way to think of this poem is to think insincerity although that doesn’t work for me.  I tend not to apologize if I don’t mean it.  I don’t consider “I’m sorry you’re upset” an apology.

But sarcasm?  I ooze sarcasm on a daily basis.  Is is my first language.  Yes, sarcasm can be mean and Williams’ poem does not feel mean.  But when I write this type of poem, it has to sound a bit mean to work.

Darwin Dilemma

I’m sorry my belief in science
gives offence. On the other hand,
It must be hard to believe so much
with no basis in fact.

The monkey from which I descend?
He’d be cute and smart and
probably fling poo.
At you?
It happens.  My apologies.

Then again
Darwin never claimed
we descended from monkeys.
You should read his work.
But first, you’ll have to learn
the science.

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


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