From My Commonplace Book - 35

An Apology

by F. J. Bergmann

Forgive me
for backing over
and smashing
your red wheelbarrow.

It was raining
and the rear wiper
does not work on
my new plum-colored SUV.

I am also sorry
about the white

This poem was a finalist for the 2003 James Hearst Poetry Prize and is included in 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Every Day edited by Billy Collins. F. J. Bergmann lives in Wisconsin and is a web designer and artist. She writes both poetry and science fiction.

Here are the two poems by William Carlos Williams that "An Apology" plays on:

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

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


Much enjoy William Carlos Williams not quirky - but delightfully human. But then I'm much involved with suffering Norwegian families at the present. Sorrows and regrets to accept (who is perfect) and move on. Strange is it not that poets can find these things yet recognise and happily rise above. Now there seems to me something special.
Thank you, Enid. Yes, as you say, delightfully human. I love these two little poems by William Carlos William.

But such troubling news yesterday of yet more violence in the world, now in Norway. American Buddhist poet Jane Hirshfield wrote this little poem in response to an earlier terrorist attack:

The Dead Do Not Want Us Dead

The dead do not want us dead;
such petty errors are left for the living.
Nor do they want our mourning.
No gift to them -- not rage, not weeping.
Return one of them, any one of them, to the earth,
and look: such foolish skipping,
such telling of bad jokes, such feasting!
Even a cucumber, even a single anise seed: feasting.

September 15, 2001
That's another lovely Buddhist poem Merry - all things come to pass I guess - feelings too. Friends in Norway coming to terms with their own horror in their peaceful country - such things so unknown to them - or anywhere else for that matter one hopes.

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