Forgive Me, But Now I Own Your World

photo by Terence Faircloth on flickr
photo by Terence Faircloth on flickr

My manuscript is out to six publishers, and now we wait to see what they have to say. In the meantime, what to post? I’ve started some fall teaching work and will have stories about those residencies down the road, but meanwhile, I’ve been meaning for some time to share a favorite student poem.

It was written in a third grade poetry class. We read William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just to Say:”

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

I asked students to write a poem, in the style of Williams if they wished, that apologized for something. Most students wrote poems like this one from Justin A:

I have talked
in the hallways
while the teacher Ms. Jackson
said not to.

You said
not to talk
for like a
hundred times

I am sorry
I had to
It’s hard
So I talked.

Justin nailed it in terms of line breaks and rhythm. I like that he includes the tension of knowing he’s not supposed to talk but really wants to talk. It is hard!

Then there was this from Estephania B:

I took over
the world
that was inside
your mind

And which
you were probably
in charge of
before I came along

Forgive me,
but now
I own
your world.

Oh, Estephania. Already hip to the ways we sometimes climb inside each other’s heads and wreak havoc. We walk around thinking we are in charge of our minds when really our inner worlds are often governed by a string of lovely and terrifying potentates. (Animal, vegetable, mineral, people, places, things—personally, I could make a long list.)

I love Estephania’s poem and her wicked insight.

“Forgive me, but now I own your world:” the best sorry not sorry I’ve ever heard.sparkle writer

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4 thoughts on “Forgive Me, But Now I Own Your World

  1. I have to say, I’ve never really ‘got’ WCW. But I TOTALLY get your students’ versions of his style. “Forgive me, but now I own your world” INDEED!!!! wonderful – just wonderful …

    Liked by 1 person

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