How an 83-year-old poem about frozen plums became 2017’s strangest meme

"Now I'm falling asleep, and she's eaten my plums, while he opens the icebox, and she's taking a plum"

In 1934, the multi-talented doctor, playwright and poet William Carlos Williams wrote an imagist poem called This Is Just To Say. It’s styled as a brief apology note for eating someone else’s chilled plums, which he’d supposedly taken from an icebox. And for whatever reason, the past two days have seen this staple of American high-school English get memeified by Twitter. Before we go on, here’s the original poem for reference:

Now, before we go on to the recent meme pile-on, let’s be clear: the joke isn’t new. Two years ago the poem was mocked thus:


In fact, people have been doing it for ages:

But for whatever reason, the end of November 2017 has seen a huge spike in plum/icebox memeification, and most of the memes are re-wordings of pop songs.

For example: they’ve done it to Khia.


And Carly Rae Jepsen:

And The Killers:

And The Beatles:

There’s Smash Mouth:

And Lou Bega:

Sufjan Stevens, unexpectedly:

And Alanis Morissette (ironically, we guess?)

There’s the Fresh Prince theme:

Vanilla Ice…

And, of course, Smash Mouth again:

It’s such a cannibalising meme that Twitter has done a meme of the meme itself:

There you have it. That’s the meme. Let’s all spare a thought for William Carlos Williams, the poet who wrote the damned thing, and who died in 1963 aged 79.

What an honour. What a legacy.


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