EXPLANATION OF “VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS” BY KENNETH KOCH.
After reading “Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams”, it seems that Kenneth Koch is doing poetry for the fun of it. His poem is a parody of “This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams. Koch catches the special manner and flavor of the original. He also extends the original beyond its limits from one topic to four topics. .
The poem consists of four stanzas of three lines each. It is very easy to follow and each stanza deals with something different. The poem has no rhyming scheme so it kind of reads like a real short story. It is not like most poems. While most poems are deep in meaning or sad, “Variations on a theme- is all about fun. It’s funny how Koch’s poem comes off. Even though Koch and Williams were born way apart of each other it seems Koch is writing this poem out of retaliation for Williams eating his plum. It’s like they are college roommates or something.
The subject Koch talks about in the first stanza is chopping down a house that was saved for someone to live in next summer. He was sorry about it, but he had nothing to do in the morning and the wooden beams were so inviting to him. This stanza is very much like the entire poem of “This Is Just to Say”. Chopping down the house resembled the eating of the plum. The inviting wooden beams are the description of the plum. Since Williams ate the plums that were for breakfast, Koch writes that he had nothing to do in the morning for the his explanation of why he chopped down the house. Therefore, If Williams hadn’t eaten the plums, he would still have his summerhouse. .
In the second stanza, Koch talks about laughing at the hollyhocks and spraying the hollyhocks with lye. A hollyhock is a tall Chinese herb and lye is a strong solution for making soap. That would probably kill the herbs. He ends the stanza by saying he does not know what he is doing.