Poetry Friday: A Poem of Apology

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To My Grilled Cheese Sandwich

~ A Poem of Apology ~

Forgive me.

I did not mean to burn you,

to char you till your crust was black.

But there was a word, a line I was pursuing,

like the birds, outside the kitchen window

searching for seeds in the snow

on this brilliant, sun-filled afternoon.

I hope the birds had more success.

I didn’t find the word;

the line is lost.

Literally up in smoke:

smoke that invaded my thoughts

as it drifted in

from the other side of the kitchen.

Don’t worry, though. I won’t abandon you.

I’ll eat you anyway.

After all, I forgot to buy bread.

© Catherine Flynn, 2014

Merriam-Webster defines “apology” as “an expression of regret for having done or said something wrong.” I truly did regret burning my sandwich. And although I wasn’t thinking about “This is Just to Say,” at the time, some part of my brain made the connection to William Carlos Williams’ famous poem of apology. You can read more about poems of apology at Joyce Sidman’s website, where she talks about the origins of her book, This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). For apology poems with a lighter touch, don’t miss Gail Carson Levine’s Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It (HarperCollins, 2012).

Please be sure to visit Renée LaTulippe at No Water River for the Poetry Friday Round Up.

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15 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A Poem of Apology

  1. Catherine, I LOVE this! I’m laughing out loud!!! I totally get this feeling, too…thinking I can just get one more thing done while the sandwich is cooking and oops…is that burning I smell? And now…now, I’m craving a grilled cheese. 6AM is too early, but I may be making one for lunch. Well done!!!! Loving this!

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  2. May I share this with my husband, who cannot comprehend how I burn so very many things?! I love this entire poem, but what puts it over the top for me is the juxtaposition of the ruined lunch and the birds flitting outside on an impossibly bright day. Life is so often like that.

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  3. This is exactly how poems happen for me. It doesn’t matter what I’m in the middle of doing. Sometimes the words come and sometimes they don’t, but my ironing, cooking, or other task tends to suffer greatly if I get lost in my head.

    Thanks for sharing this!
    Tricia

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  4. Writing a “This Is Just to Say” poem to a sandwich — delicious idea. I actually LIKE my grilled cheese on the charred side. But the image that stays with me is those fleeting birds, flying away with the word at the tip of your pen.

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  5. Oh, dear, this one hits too close to home. I, too, have told myself I can never leave the kitchen with a pan on the stove. But even still, sometimes I forget that I wasn’t going to leave. I’m thinking maybe I can only eat microwaved stuff or crackers now.

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  6. HA! Sounds exactly like what I’d do — burn the sandwich and have to eat it because I forgot to buy bread. All for the sake of a poem!!

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  7. Catherine, I really enjoyed your poem. Though your topic was light and fun, you managed to insert a few lines that were actually quite deep and thoughtful. I loved these:

    But there was a word, a line I was pursuing,

    like the birds, outside the kitchen window

    searching for seeds in the snow

    and

    I didn’t find the word;

    the line is lost.

    Literally up in smoke:

    Oh, the life of one who pursues words. Thanks for making me smile.

    Cathy

    Like

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