The Best, and Most Literary, Icebox Plums Jokes From Twitter
This may be the internet’s most English-major meme
William Carlos Williams’ poem “This Is Just to Say” has always somehow lent itself to parody. (See Kenneth Koch’s “Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams”: “We laughed at the hollyhocks together / and then I sprayed them with lye. / Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.”) But never has that parody been more relentless than on Twitter, where every so often people just pick up the poem and run with it. The current iteration of this meme seems especially widespread and frenetic, perhaps because of the increase in Twitter’s character limit (or perhaps because of the increase in Twitter’s Nazis; we could all use a little break). And, to bring extra joy to our book-nerd hearts, many of the jokes are quite erudite.
Perhaps the best, or at least the most crowd-pleasing, examples of this meme integrate Williams’ 83-year-old poem with modern pop culture in a way that seems weirdly seamless. (Yes, all of these examples of “modern” pop culture are from 2000 or earlier, deal with it.)
cut your plums into pieces they are so cold and sweet in the icebox I'm thievin give lots of fucks it's your breakfast I'm eatin
Now this is a story just to say That I ate the plums in the icebox today And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there I'm sorry that the plums really weren't to share
In recognition of the upcoming season, there have also been some catchy holiday tunes:
Icebox plums, icebox plums This is just to say Oh what fun it is to eat The breakfast you had saved
@GretchenAMcC You had a little icebox, But now it's out of plums. They were so sweet and tasty And cold upon my gums. Oh, icebox, icebox, icebox! I ate from you today. And now you're bare and empty, And this is just to say. #WilliamCarolsWilliams
But our favorites are the ones that reference other poets and novelists, or even William Carlos Williams himself:
once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious icebox of forgotten plums while i saved them, never eating, suddenly there came a bleating, as of someone gently tweeting using just their thumbs to inform me they'd consumed my plums
I saw the best plums of my generation destroyed by Williams, starving hysterical naked, dragging himself through the icebox shelves at dawn looking for a sweet cold fix
If you can save your plums for breakfast when all about you Are losing theirs & blaming it on you, Yours is the icebox & everything that's in it, And, which is delicious, so sweet & so cold.
so much depends upon plums in the icebox that you were saving to eat for breakfast
nobody, not even the icebox, has such small plums.
I have eaten the stately plums Buck Mulligan left in the icebox.
Because I would not stop for plums, I ate all yours, you see. And now the icebox holds just pits; I'm sorry. --Willie C.
But for real literary insider points, if you want to get a meme started, please note:
played out: icebox plums, unworn baby shoes ageless: taking a sucking stone from the right pocket of your greatcoat and sucking it