poem index

Poems about Fruit

Poems to snack on.
Poems about Fruit
next
Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm
Carl Phillips, 1959
So that each
is its own, now--each has fallen, blond stillness.
Closer, above them,
the damselflies pass as they would over water, 
if the fruit were water,
or as bees would, if they weren't
somewhere else, had the fruit found
already a point more steep
in rot, as soon it must, if
none shall lift it from the grass whose damp only 
softens further those parts where flesh
goes soft.

There are those
whom no amount of patience looks likely
to improve ever, I always said, meaning
gift is random, 
assigned here, 
here withheld--almost always
correctly
as it's turned out: how your hands clear
easily the wreckage;
how you stand--like a building for a time condemned,
then deemed historic. Yes. You
will be saved.
Poems about Fruit
next
Blue Plate
Jesse Lee Kercheval
After the porno theater became a revival house,
the neighborhood began to change.
The Blue Plate, a designer diner, opened,
all aluminum and curves. Inside, 
the menu featured revived comfort foods--
meat loaf, mashed potatoes, a glass case full of pies.
Young families moved in, the drawn shades
of the elderly replaced by window boxes
and Big Wheels in the yards. Another revival.
Then a Mexican restaurant opened--
though not one run by Mexicans.
A pizza place whose specialty is a pie
made with Greek, not Italian, cheese
called The Feta-licious.

But what is real? In time, everyone
came to depend upon the diner. Packed
for breakfast, lunch, pie, and coffee.
If you need a good plumber,
go to the Blue Plate and ask for Carl
who's there talking politics
with the other long-suffering followers of Trotsky.
If you want a sitter, ask the waitstaff,
Who has a younger sister?
If you're invited to a potluck, stop
and buy a whole pie.

In the town where I grew up,
there was a diner too, Bev's,
named after the cook and owner who,
my mother whispered the first time we went there,
was a Holocaust survivor.
When we went for breakfast or a hamburger,
Bev would wait on us, her tattoo shining
on her thick, damp wrist. She was not Jewish,
but Czech and Catholic. She kept an Infant of Prague
by the cash register and changed
his tiny satin outfits to match the seasons.
But she didn't make pie and her mashed potatoes
came from the same box as my mother's.
Bev's food wasn't good, only better than nothing.
Just like being a death camp survivor,
Bev told my mother, wasn't a good thing to be,
only better than not being.

My mother is dead now. Bev too.

My mother wasn't a good cook either, rarely made pies.
I can, but I like the ones at the Blue Plate
better. Dutch Apple, Three Berry, Lemon with Mile-
High Meringue. The trouble with meringue,
my mother said once, is that it weeps.

Amazing, I thought, sad pie.
Poems about Fruit
next
The Tropics of New York
Claude McKay, 1889 - 1948
Bananas ripe and green, and ginger root
     Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,
And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit,
     Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,

Sat in the window, bringing memories
     of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills,
And dewy dawns, and mystical skies
     In benediction over nun-like hills.

My eyes grow dim, and I could no more gaze;
     A wave of longing through my body swept,
And, hungry for the old, familiar ways
     I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.
Poems about Fruit
next
A Supermarket in California
Allen Ginsberg, 1926 - 1997
  What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked 
down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking 
at the full moon.
  In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon
fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
  What peaches and what penumbras!  Whole families shopping at 
night!  Aisles full of husbands!  Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!
--and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

  I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking
among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
  I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops?    
What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?
  I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you,
and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
  We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy 
tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the 
cashier.

  Where are we going, Walt Whitman?  The doors close in a hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight?
  (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and
feel absurd.)
  Will we walk all night through solitary streets?  The trees add shade
to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
  Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automo-
biles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
  Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America
did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a 
smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of
Lethe?

--Berkeley, 1955

Poems about Fruit
next
A Nest Full of Stars
James Berry
Only chance made me come and find
my hen, stepping from her hidden
nest, in our kitchen garden.

In her clever secret place, her tenth
egg, still warm, had just been dropped.

Not sure of what to do, I picked up
every egg, counting them, then put them
down again. All were mine.

All swept me away and back.
I blinked, I saw: a whole hand
of ripe bananas, nesting.

I blinked, I saw: a basketful
of ripe oranges, nesting.

I blinked, I saw: a trayful
of ripe naseberries, nesting.

I blinked, I saw: an open bagful
of ripe mangoes, nesting.

I blinked, I saw:
a mighty nest full of stars.

naseberry: sapodilla plum with sweet brown flesh

Poems about Fruit
next
Yellow Bowl
Rachel Contreni Flynn
If light pours like water
into the kitchen where I sway
with my tired children,

if the rug beneath us
is woven with tough flowers,
and the yellow bowl on the table

rests with the sweet heft 
of fruit, the sun-warmed plums, 
if my body curves over the babies, 

and if I am singing,
then loneliness has lost its shape,
and this quiet is only quiet.
Poems about Fruit
next
Oracle
Tom Sleigh
Because the burn's unstable, burning too hot
in the liquid hydrogen suction line
and so causing vortices in the rocket fuel 

flaming hotter and hotter as the "big boy"
blasts off, crawling painfully slowly 
up the blank sky, then, when he blinks 

exploding white hot against his wincing
retina, the fireball's corona searing 
in his brain, he drives with wife and sons

the twisting road at dawn to help with the Saturday
test his division's working on: the crowd 
of engineers surrounding a pit dug in snow 

seeming talky, joky men for 6 a.m., masking 
their tension, hoping the booster rocket's
solid fuel will burn more evenly than the liquid

and keep the company from layoffs rumored
during recess, though pride in making
chemicals do just what they're calculated to

also keys them up as they lounge behind 
pink caution tape sagging inertly 
in the morning calm: in the back seat, I kick 

my twin brother's shin, bored at 6:10 a.m. 
until Dad turns to us and says, in a neutral tone, 
Stop it, stop it now, and we stop and watch: 

a plaque of heat, a roar like a diesel blasting
in your ear, heatwaves ricocheting off gray mist
melting backward into dawn, shockwaves rippling 

to grip the car and shake us gently, flame 
dimly seen like flame inside the brain confused 
by a father who promises pancakes after, 

who's visibly elated to see the blast shoot 
arabesques of mud and grit fountaining up 
from the snow-fringed hole mottling to black slag 

fired to ruts and cracks like a parched streambed. 
Deliriously sleepy, what were those flames doing 
mixed up with blueberry pancakes, imaginings of honey 

dripping and strawberry syrup or waffles, 
maybe, corrugated like that earth, or a stack 
of half-dollars drenched and sticky...? 

My father's gentle smile and nodding head—
gone ten years, and still I see him climbing 
slick concrete steps as if emerging from our next door

neighbor's bomb shelter, his long-chilled shade 
feeling sunlight on backs of hands, warmth on cheeks,
the brightness making eyes blink and blink...

so like his expression when a friend came 
to say goodbye to him shrunken inside 
himself as into a miles-deep bunker...

and then he smiled, his white goatee 
flexing, his parched lips cracked but welcoming 
as he took that friend's hand and held it, held it 

and pressed it to his cheek... The scales, weighing 
one man's death and his son's grief against 
a city's char and flare, blast-furnace heat melting 

to slag whatever is there, then not there—
doesn't seesaw to a balance, but keeps shifting,
shifting...nor does it suffice to make simple

correspondences between bunkers and one man's 
isolation inside his death, a death 
he died at home and chose...at least insofar 

as death allows anyone a choice, for what
can you say to someone who's father or mother
crossing the street at random, or running 

for cover finds the air sucked out 
of them in a vacuum of fire calibrated
in silence in a man's brain like my father's

—the numbers calculated inside the engineer's 
imagination become a shadowy gesture as in Leonardo's 
drawing of a mortar I once showed my father 

and that we admired for its precision, shot raining 
down over fortress walls in spray softly pattering,
hailing down shrapnel like the fountain of Trevi

perfectly uniform, lulling to the ear and eye
until it takes shape in the unforgiving
three dimensional, as when the fragile, 

antagonized, antagonistic human face
begins to slacken into death as in my own 
father's face, a truly gentle man except 

for his work which was conducted gently too—
since "technicals" like him were too shy for sales 
or management, and what angers he may have had 

seemed to be turned inward against judging
others so the noise inside his head was quieter
than most and made him, to those who knew him well,

not many, but by what they told me after he died,
the least judgemental person 
they'd ever known—who, at his almost next to last 

breath, uncomplaining, said to his son's 
straining, over-eager solicitation, 
—Is there something you need, anything?

—That picture—straighten it... his face smoothing 
to a slate onto which light scribbles what? a dark joke,
an elegant equation, a garbled oracle?
Poems about Fruit
next
Nothing Stays Put
Amy Clampitt

In memory of Father Flye, 1884-1985

The strange and wonderful are too much with us.
The protea of the antipodes--a great,
globed, blazing honeybee of a bloom--
for sale in the supermarket! We are in
our decadence, we are not entitled.
What have we done to deserve
all the produce of the tropics--
this fiery trove, the largesse of it
heaped up like cannonballs, these pineapples, bossed
and crested, standing like troops at attention,
these tiers, these balconies of green, festoons
grown sumptuous with stoop labor?

The exotic is everywhere, it comes to us
before there is a yen or a need for it. The green-
grocers, uptown and down, are from South Korea.
Orchids, opulence by the pailful, just slightly
fatigued by the plane trip from Hawaii, are
disposed on the sidewalks; alstroemerias, freesias
fattened a bit in translation from overseas; gladioli
likewise estranged from their piercing ancestral crimson;
as well as, less altered from the original blue cornflower
of the roadsides and railway embankments of Europe, these
bachelor's buttons. But it isn't the railway embankments
their featherweight wheels of cobalt remind me of, it's

a row of them among prim colonnades of cosmos,
snapdragon, nasturtium, bloodsilk red poppies,
in my grandmother's garden: a prairie childhood,
the grassland shorn, overlaid with a grid,
unsealed, furrowed, harrowed and sown with immigrant grasses,
their massive corduroy, their wavering feltings embroidered
here and there by the scarlet shoulder patch of cannas
on a courthouse lawn, by a love knot, a cross stitch
of living matter, sown and tended by women,
nurturers everywhere of the strange and wonderful,
beneath whose hands what had been alien begins,
as it alters, to grow as though it were indigenous.

But at this remove what I think of as
strange and wonderful, strolling the side streets of Manhattan
on an April afternoon, seeing hybrid pear trees in blossom,
a tossing, vertiginous colonnade of foam, up above--
is the white petalfall, the warm snowdrift
of the indigenous wild plum of my childhood.
Nothing stays put. The world is a wheel.
All that we know, that we're 
made of, is motion.
Poems about Fruit
next
Woman on Twenty-Second Eating Berries
Stanley Plumly, 1939
She's not angry exactly but all business,
eating them right off the tree, with confidence,
the kind that lets her spit out the bad ones
clear of the sidewalk into the street. It's
sunny, though who can tell what she's tasting,
rowan or one of the serviceberries—
the animal at work, so everybody,
save the traffic, keeps a distance. She's picking
clean what the birds have left, and even,
in her hurry, a few dark leaves. In the air
the dusting of exhaust that still turns pennies
green, the way the cloudy surfaces
of things obscure their differences,
like the mock orange or the apple rose that
cracks the paving stone, rooted in the plaza.
No one will say your name, and when you come to
the door no one will know you, a parable
of the afterlife on earth. Poor grapes, poor crabs,
wild black cherry trees, on which some forty-six
or so species of birds have fed, some boy's dead
weight or the tragic summer lightning killing
the seed, how boyish now that hunger
to bring those branches down to scale,
to eat of that which otherwise was waste,
how natural this woman eating berries, how alone.
Poems about Fruit
next
Migrating Birds
Mónica de la Torre
Victor got a real sense of power
from making his own raisins. He’d buy
pounds and pounds of grapes
and leave them to dry 
on the kitchen table.


Theresa didn’t want to hear about 
her ex-husband’s cancer. Not on Father’s Day.
She took a train all night 
to have breakfast with her cousin. 
All Sunday she rode the train back.


Once Martin’s wife had left,
he decided to take advantage of her space.
He built a sauna where her closet was,
sat there every morning, to read the paper
and Buddha.


One night Helga wore her prettiest dress,
though she knew he wouldn’t be there.
She drank dry white, got drunk 
(she was on a diet), and fell down.
Later he saw the holes in her pantyhose.


María was usually bumping into
furniture. Each time she got closer to what
she wanted. "What do you want from me?"
"Nothing," he replied, so she took off
and felt like migrating birds. But many.
Poems about Fruit
next
A group of girls from Minnesota or black mascara
Maureen Owen

Not trees trace so             just kids we hung
slim buckets    of chokecherries from our wrists

in neighboring galaxies    Giant Star Factories take control
composed of cold hydrogen gas and dust

7,000             light years from earth
slender-toed geckos                   step onto the moon

On the road between 2 baptisms and a shower they rang
to say       shallow water          the mouths drop open

not where you stand but how long you can
stand standing there
in constant hypothesis

the trees are passersby
mercurial
damp light
flat orange moon
velvet navy-blue sky

fire berries
from here we see the beautifully attired drive tough Ford pickups

the oncoming
organizing principle
brushed out

the dancers take turns leaping over the bonfire       into
Qué pasa USA?

haircuts in London are really pretty backward
London—you are definitely not going to have a manicure there!
in LA toes must match the hands or else just don’t leave the house
in NY it’s more brunette

Outside       a refrigerator          floats       in the blackness shiny amid sharp stars

& the turtle who holds up the world          holds up
the world

Poems about Fruit
next
Come Up From the Fields Father
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
Come up from the fields father, here's a letter from our Pete, 
And come to the front door mother, here's a letter from thy
   dear son.

Lo, 'tis autumn, 
Lo, where the trees, deeper green, yellower and redder,
Cool and sweeten Ohio's villages with leaves fluttering in the
   moderate wind,
Where apples ripe in the orchards hang and grapes on the 
   trellis'd vines,
(Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines?
Smell you the buckwheat where the bees were lately 
   buzzing?)

Above all, lo, the sky so calm, so transparent after the rain, 
   and with wondrous clouds,
Below too, all calm, all vital and beautiful, and the farm 
   prospers well.

Down in the fields all prospers well,
But now from the fields come father, come at the daughter's 
   call,
And come to the entry mother, to the front door come right
   away.

Fast as she can she hurries, something ominous, her steps 
   trembling,
She does not tarry to smooth her hair nor adjust her cap.

Open the envelope quickly,
O this is not our son's writing, yet his name is sign'd,
O a strange hand writes for our dear son, 0 stricken 
   mother's soul!
All swims before her eyes, flashes with black, she catches the
   main words only,
Sentences broken, gunshot wound in the breast, cavalry
   skirmish, taken to hospital,
At present low, but will soon be better.

Ah now the single figure to me,
Amid all teeming and wealthy Ohio with all its cities and 
   farms,
Sickly white in the face and dull in the head, very faint, 
By the jamb of a door leans.

Grieve not so, dear mother, (the just-grown daughter speaks 
   through her sobs,
The little sisters huddle around speechless and dismay'd,)
See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon be better.
Alas poor boy, he will never be better, (nor may-be needs to 
   be better, that brave and simple soul,)
While they stand at home at the door he is dead already, 
The only son is dead.

But the mother needs to be better, 
She with thin form presently drest in black, 
By day her meals untouch'd, then at night fitfully sleeping,
   often waking,
In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one deep 
   longing,
O that she might withdraw unnoticed, silent from life escape 
   and withdraw,
To follow, to seek, to be with her dear dead son.
Poems about Fruit
next
Song of Nature
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 - 1882
Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hid in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life,
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My apples ripened well,
And light from meliorating stars
With firmer glory fell.

I wrote the past in characters
Of rock and fire the scroll,
The building in the coral sea,
The planting of the coal.

And thefts from satellites and rings
And broken stars I drew,
And out of spent and aged things
I formed the world anew;

What time the gods kept carnival,
Tricked out in star and flower,
And in cramp elf and saurian forms
They swathed their too much power.

Time and Thought were my surveyors,
They laid their courses well,
They boiled the sea, and baked the layers
Or granite, marl, and shell.

But he, the man-child glorious,--
Where tarries he the while?
The rainbow shines his harbinger,
The sunset gleams his smile.

My boreal lights leap upward,
Forthright my planets roll,
And still the man-child is not born,
The summit of the whole.

Must time and tide forever run?
Will never my winds go sleep in the west?
Will never my wheels which whirl the sun
And satellites have rest?

Too much of donning and doffing,
Too slow the rainbow fades,
I weary of my robe of snow,
My leaves and my cascades;

I tire of globes and races,
Too long the game is played;
What without him is summer's pomp,
Or winter's frozen shade?

I travail in pain for him,
My creatures travail and wait;
His couriers come by squadrons,
He comes not to the gate.

Twice I have moulded an image,
And thrice outstretched my hand,
Made one of day, and one of night,
And one of the salt sea-sand.

One in a Judaean manger,
And one by Avon stream,
One over against the mouths of Nile,
And one in the Academe.

I moulded kings and saviours,
And bards o'er kings to rule;--
But fell the starry influence short,
The cup was never full.

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones, and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.
Poems about Fruit
next
the great american yellow poem
Frances Chung

she heard tales about saving grapefruit skins for cooking
she grew bright under the neon dragon of Chinatown
she made saffron curry rice for friends
she attended a barbecue in Amarillo, Texas
she stepped around yellow piss in snow
she cut herself on a Hawaiian pineapple
she learned to name forsythia where it grew
visions of ochre and citronella eluded her
Poems about Fruit
next
Little Stones at My Window
Mario Benedetti

for roberto and adelaida

Once in a while
joy throws little stones at my window
it wants to let me know that it's waiting for me
but today I'm calm
I'd almost say even-tempered
I'm going to keep anxiety locked up
and then lie flat on my back
which is an elegant and comfortable position
for receiving and believing news

who knows where I'll be next
or when my story will be taken into account
who knows what advice I still might come up with
and what easy way out I'll take not to follow it

don't worry, I won't gamble with an eviction
I won't tattoo remembering with forgetting
there are many things left to say and suppress
and many grapes left to fill our mouths

don't worry, I'm convinced
joy doesn't need to throw any more little stones
I'm coming
I'm coming.
Poems about Fruit
next
Apples
Grace Schulman
Rain hazes a street cart's green umbrella
but not its apples, heaped in paper cartons,
dry under cling film. The apple man,

who shirrs his mouth as though eating tart fruit,
exhibits four like racehorses at auction:
Blacktwig, Holland, Crimson King, Salome.

I tried one and its cold grain jolted memory:
a hill where meager apples fell so bruised
that locals wondered why we scooped them up,

my friend and I, in matching navy blazers.
One bite and I heard her laughter toll,
free as school's out, her face flushed in late sun.

I asked the apple merchant for another,
jaunty as Cezanne's still-life reds and yellows,
having more life than stillness, telling us,

uncut, unpeeled, they are not for the feast
but for themselves, and building strength to fly
at any moment, leap from a skewed bowl,

whirl in the air, and roll off a tilted table.
Fruit-stand vendor, master of Northern Spies,
let a loose apple teach me how to spin

at random, burn in light and rave in shadows.
Bring me a Winesap like the one Eve tasted,
savored and shared, and asked for more.

No fool, she knew that beauty strikes just once,
hard, never in comfort. For that bitter fruit,
tasting of earth and song, I'd risk exile.

The air is bland here. I would forfeit mist
for hail, put on a robe of dandelions,
and run out, broken, to weep and curse — for joy.
Poems about Fruit
next
The Leaving
Brigit Pegeen Kelly
My father said I could not do it,
but all night I picked the peaches.
The orchard was still, the canals ran steadily.
I was a girl then, my chest its own walled garden.
How many ladders to gather an orchard?
I had only one and a long patience with lit hands
and the looking of the stars which moved right through me
the way the water moved through the canals with a voice
that seemed to speak of this moonless gathering
and those who had gathered before me.
I put the peaches in the pond's cold water,
all night up the ladder and down, all night my hands
twisting fruit as if I were entering a thousand doors,
all night my back a straight road to the sky.
And then out of its own goodness, out
of the far fields of the stars, the morning came,
and inside me was the stillness a bell possesses
just after it has been rung, before the metal
begins to long again for the clapper's stroke.
The light came over the orchard.
The canals were silver and then were not.
and the pond was--I could see as I laid
the last peach in the water--full of fish and eyes.
Poems about Fruit
next
Metamorphosis VIII, 611-724
Ovid
Baucis and Philemon

THUS Achelous ends: his audience hear
With admiration, and admiring, fear
The pow'rs of heav'n; except Ixion's son,
Who laugh'd at all the gods, believ'd in none:
He shook his impious head, and thus replies,
"These legends are no more than pious lies:
You attribute too much to heavenly sway,
To think they give us forms, and take away."
   The rest, of better minds, their sense declar'd
Against this doctrine, and with horrour heard. 
Then Lelex rose, an old experienc'd man,
And thus with sober gravity began:
"Heav'n's pow'r is infinite: earth, air, and sea,
The manufacture mass, the making pow'r obey:
By proof to clear your doubt; in Phrygian ground
Two neighb'ring trees, with walls encompass'd round,
Stand on a mod'rate rise, with wonder shown,
One a hard oak, a softer linden one:
I saw the place and them, by Pittheus sent
To Phrygian realms, my grandsire's government.
Not far from thence is seen a lake, the haunt
Of coots, and of the fishing cormorant:
Here Jove with Hermes came; but in disguise
Of mortal men conceal'd their deities;
One laid aside his thunder, one his rod;
And many toilsome steps together trod;
For harbour at a thousand doors they knock'd,
Not one of all the thousand but was lock'd.
At last an hospitable house they found,
A homely shed; the roof, not far from ground,
Was thatch'd with reeds and straw together bound.
There Baucis and Philemon liv'd, and there
Had liv'd long married and a happy pair:
Now old in love, though little was their store,
Inur'd to want, their poverty they bore,
Nor aim'd at wealth, professing to be poor.
For master or for servant here to call,
Was all alike, where only two were all.
Command was none, where equal love was paid,
Or rather both commanded, both obey'd.
    From lofty roofs the Gods repuls'd before,
Now stooping, enter'd through the little door:
The man (their hearty welcome first express'd)
A common settle drew for either guest,
Inviting each his weary limbs to rest.
But e'er they sat, officious Baucis lays
Two cushions stuff'd with straw, the seat to raise;
Coarse, but the best she had; then rakes the load
Of ashes from the hearth, and spreads abroad
The living coals, and, lest they should expire,
With leaves and barks she feeds her infant-fire:
It smokes; and then with trembling breath she blows,
Till in a cheerful blaze the flames arose.
With brush-wood and with chips she strengthens these,
And adds at last the boughs of rotten trees.
The fire thus form'd, she sets the kettle on,
(Like burnish'd gold the little seether shone)
Next took the coleworts which her husband got
From his own ground (a small well-water'd spot;)
She stripp'd the stalks of all their leaves; the best
She cull'd, and then with handy-care she dress'd.
High o'er the hearth a chine of bacon hung;
Good old Philemon seiz'd it with a prong,
And from the sooty rafter drew it down,
Then cut a slice, but scarce enough for one;
Yet a large portion of a little store,
Which for their sakes alone he wish'd were more.
This in the pot he plung'd without delay,
To tame the flesh, and drain the salt away.
The time between, before the fire they sat,
And shorten'd the delay by pleasing chat.
    A beam there was, on which a beechen pail
Hung by the handle, on a driven nail:
This fill'd with water, gently warm'd, they set
Before their guests; in this they bath'd their feet,
And after with clean towels dry'd their sweat:
This done, the host produc'd the genial bed,
Sallow the feet, the borders, and the sted,
Which with no costly coverlet they spread;
But coarse old garments, yet such robes as these
They laid alone, at feasts, on holydays.
The good old huswife tucking up her gown,
The table sets; th' invited gods lie down.
The trivet-table of a foot was lame,
A blot which prudent Baucis overcame,
Who thrusts beneath the limping leg, a sherd,
So was the mended board exactly rear'd:
Then rubb'd it o'er with newly-gather'd mint,
A wholesome herb, that breath'd a grateful scent.
Pallas began the feast, where first were seen
The party-colour'd olive, black and green:
Autumnal cornels next in order serv'd,
In lees of wine well pickl'd, and preserv'd:
A garden-salad was the third supply,
Of endive, radishes, and succory:
Then curds and cream, the flow'r of country-fare,
And new-laid eggs, which Baucis' busy care
Turn'd by a gentle fire, and roasted rear.
All these in earthen ware were serv'd to board;
And next in place, an earthen pitcher, stor'd
With liquor of the best the cottage cou'd afford.
This was the table's ornament and pride,
With figures wrought: like pages at his side
Stood beechen bowls; and these were shining clean,
Varnish'd with wax without, and lin'd within.
By this the boiling kettle had prepar'd,
And to the table sent the smoking lard;
On which with eager appetite they dine,
A sav'ry bit, that serv'd to relish wine:
The wine itself was suiting to the rest,
Still working in the must, and lately press'd.
The second course succeeds like that before,
Plums, apples, nuts, and of their wintry store,
Dry figs, and grapes, and wrinkl'd dates were set
In canisters, t' enlarge the little treat
All these a milk-white honey-comb surround,
Which in the midst the country banquet crown'd:
But the kind hosts their entertainment grace
With hearty welcome, and an open face:
In all they did, you might discern with ease,
A willing mind, and a desire to please. 
   Meantime the beechen bowls went round, and still,
Though often empty'd, were observ'd to fill;
Fill'd without hands, and of their own accord
Ran without feet, and danc'd about the board.
Devotion seiz'd the pair, to see the feast
With wine, and of no common grape, increas'd;
And up they held their hands, and fell to pray'r,
Excusing, as they cou'd, their country fare. 
    One goose they had, ('twas all they cou'd allow)
A wakeful sent'ry, and on duty now,
Whom to the gods for sacrifice they vow:
Her, with malicious zeal, the couple view'd;
She ran for life, and limping they pursu'd:
Full well the fowl perceiv'd their bad intent,
And wou'd not make her masters compliment;
But persecuted, to the pow'rs she flies,
And close between the legs of Love she lies.
He with a gracious ear the suppliant heard,
And sav'd her life; then what he was declar'd,
And own'd the god. 'The neighbourhood,' said he,
'Shall justly perish for impiety:
You stand alone exempted; but obey
With speed, and follow where we lead the way:
Leave these accurs'd; and to the mountain's height
Ascend; nor once look backward in your flight.'
   They haste, and what their tardy feet deny'd,
The trusty staff (their better leg) supply'd.
An arrow's flight they wanted to the top,
And there secure, but spent with travel, stop;
Then turn their now no more forbidden eyes;
Lost in a lake the floated level lies:
A watry desert covers all the plains,
Their cot alone, as in an isle, remains:
Wondring with weeping eyes, while they deplore
Their neighbours' fate, and country now no more,
Their little shed, scarce large enough for two,
Seems, from the ground increas'd, in height and bulk to grow.
A stately temple shoots within the skies:
The crotches of their cot in columns rise:
The pavement polish'd marble they behold,
The gates with sculpture grac'd, the spires and tiles of gold. 
    Then thus the sire of gods, with look serene,
'Speak thy desire, thou only just of men;
And thou, O woman, only worthy found
To be with such a man in marriage bound.'
   A while they whisper; then, to Jove address'd,
Philemon thus prefers their joint request:
'We crave to serve before your sacred shrine,
And offer at your altars rites divine:
And since not any action of our life
Has been polluted with domestic strife,
We beg one hour of death; that neither she
With widow's tears may live to bury me,
Nor weeping I, with wither'd arms may bear
My breathless Baucis to the sepulcher.'
   The godheads sign their suit. They run their race
In the same tenor all th' appointed space;
Then, when their hour was come, while they relate
These past adventures at the temple-gate,
Old Baucis is by old Philemon seen
Sprouting with sudden leaves of spritely green:
Old Baucis look'd where old Philemon stood,
And saw his lengthen'd arms a sprouting wood:
New roots their fasten'd feet begin to bind,
Their bodies stiffen in a rising rind:
Then e'er the bark above their shoulders grew,
They give and take at once their last adieu;
At once, farewell, O faithful spouse, they said;
At once th' incroaching rinds their closing lips invade.
Ev'n yet, an ancient Tyanaean shows
A spreading oak, that near a linden grows:
The neighbourhood confirm the prodigie,
Grave men, not vain of tongue, or like to lie.
I saw myself the garlands on their boughs,
And tablets hung for gifts of granted vows;
And off'ring fresher up, with pious pray'r,
The good, said I, are God's peculiar care,
And such as honour heav'n, shall heav'nly honour share."
Poems about Fruit
next
Vegetable-Life
Ned O'Gorman, 1929 - 2014
Where the pulp lifts its germ and the sludge of beauty sighs,
where the leaf pulls the branch to the breathy earth,
where the rind cracks and buds rust into petals,
where the clove steams and cinnamon bark spits out cinnamon air,
where roots sweat and the earth boils in curds of steaming mud,
where the stem draws up the seed and holds it like a lamb to the sun,
where flowers rest their animal heads,
there, full throated, limp with seed, lush and smiling is
Vegetable-Life.

To come upon her you must journey through the rains,
and sleep through a night of fish smells;
there must be a dead man in a hot room,
there must be a basket of figs and plums on the pier,
there must be no new ship in the harbor,
there must be the sound of flowers falling upon flowers,
there must be no children swimming in the salt pools.

Where the Flamboyant spills into the vulcan dust,
where the wild pig chews up the door frames,
where the leper kneads his bones,
where the sun is stuffed with guns,
where the water flows like honey from the tap,
where black flies swell in the gecko's translucent belly,
where these are, there is
Vegetable-Life: The Sultana of the Vine,
The Goddess of the Harvest Gone Bad, The Spectrum Swallower.

In an ointment of wild saps, ripe fronds and mosses, tumid wheat,
and bareley, Abundance pours down over the head, heavy with pollen
and in the puce interrogation of the harvest
the intellect sprouts leaves.
Poems about Fruit
next
Outliving the Lyric Moment
Leslie Adrienne Miller
Angel and muse escape with violin and compass; the duende wounds.
                                         —Federico García Lorca
				

I didn't expect to escape.  I've stepped out of planes
into Madrid and Bangkok, Prague and Seoul,
each time a solo in a world that was, if not cruel,
supremely indifferent to the fact of my breath. 

I loved where I could, did not imagine my mouth
without light, fish at home in my bluest wells.
I went in a stalk of pure wanting that knows
there's no getting, and collected tiny lemons

of joy when they ripened in reach of a window
in Vence where I happened also on tangles
of grapes fallen and trodden on the road to the sea.
I plucked green stones from Spanish sand, wore

the white hibiscus for a day behind my ear
where it softened with rot in a pattern of etch.
In Andalusia the wine is new and ruby, breath
and aroma the tools of being in places where days

are paid out like so many queens on obsolete
coins.  Now, not suddenly, but after long balance
of what there is against what might or might never be,
the never-was has dared to love me back.

So it was death all along who stood in the ferry
with his dirty blonde hair and bright nylon pack,
but I never imagined he'd be so young
as he slung the pack, leapt to the shore

and never looked back for me.  That's why
my flesh loves me today.  There are salt and heat
and a body of bread, new if not endless, and a rumor
if not news of the future.  It dies as it lived, the idea

of duende, a proximity, a song we don't necessarily
need in a land of snow and icy green lakes where
the weather's a tomb and the lover's strong thigh
is white and marvelous as marble, a throne

on which I suppose I could sit and grow handsomely old.
Poems about Fruit
next
Fallen Apples
Tom Hansen

Wasps at work in the soft
flesh of rotting apples.
Food of the gods,
all day they mine it in busy
hushed movements.

I pick up a mushy corpse
one cold morning.
Carefully turn it over.
Its congregation tumbles
into the cupped
bowl of my hand.

Dazed, drunk, still
chilled from overnight cold,
they blunder like sleepwalkers
feeling around for the light.
Tiny antennae test my skin
in search of something
now gone.

Warmed by my hand,
warmed by the sun,
they stagger and fall into flight.
They scribble orbits
the air erases
and whine at last out of sight.

Poems about Fruit
next
This Is Just To Say
William Carlos Williams, 1883 - 1963
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
Poems about Fruit
next
Roman Year
Reginald Shepherd, 1963 - 2008
Martius

The corrugated iron gates are
rolling down storefronts 
in paradise, late light flecks windows,
rain's acid fingerprints. Motes 
float between iron and glass, sink
into sanded pavements, weather's
footprints, cracked mappa mundi: silk
tea roses with a fringe of plastic fern;
grapes, apples, and bananas ripened
to painted wax: your eyes 
blinking away pollen 
in wind that says spring's coming, wait
for me. Months sometimes it takes


Aprilis

lights scrolls across an unmade bed,
we were setting out for Aries
in paper planes (white dwarf stars
bright in a wilderness of wish scatter
white feathers among me, fistfuls
of light): bees busied themselves 
with the seen, moment's 
multiple tasks, for the pollen, honey
in the blood, bees would drown
each day: from a thicket of nos
to one sepaled blossoming, all
in an afternoon

you thought of bees as summer


Maius

This heliotrope gaze has fixed me
in its sights (the turning solar year suffers
in sudden rain, grazes my cold 
with vague waves, plashing 
particles, but lightly): lightly 
take this sky, bound up in so much
loose light, light wind brushes chapped
lips. Light-footed gods break open 
day to see what it contains: body
survives light's inquisitions. 


Junius

Beside the shale pigeons a dove 
color of old brick dust, the sound 
of brick dust settling: traffic noise 
rides heat-rise off wet streets, summer 
music echoes borrowed air: light 
centrifugal, sent scattering, lost later
every day:some gold
against bright water (handfuls
scattered over lake), unnecessary, true
candleland waning to wax 
and wick, silver water shattering
like backed glass 


Quintilis

When I was in Egypt, light fell 
instead of rain, congealed to grains of sand,
pyramidal, uninterred. Uninterrupted waves 
of palms departed for shuddering oases. Why was it
I spent centuries in that mirage, caravanserai 
of the sirocco stopped, pausing at 
reflection, also called the polished sky,
and still no fall of shade? The light hung
triangular, aslant, touched the colossus
to song.


Sextilis

Wanting to understand, not wanting
to understand, worried that 
by taking thought you lose it, by not 
taking, thought. Watching him run a hand
through thin blond hair, passing 
at arm's length on a lunch hour 
street. Wondering is it good now, am I
pleasure, and which part is it that I need,
while air migrates too slowly to be seen
and noon crawls groggy over August
skin. Then thinking No, it's too 
and turning back to look at traffic.


September

Sudden storm, then sudden sun. Give me, 
I almost said: and stopped, began again 
with your voice, what gets invented by the 
I-can't-say-that-here. The afternoon of after rain
dazzles with cloudlessness and a painful green 
set casually against blue: light 
mottled by fractal leaves 
freckles your outstretched arm, 
repeating apple, apple, apple, sour 
fruit and crabgrass. A damp T-shirt 
takes on that color, nothing 
will wash it out. I wear it for weeks. 


October

doorway, flutter, moth
or leaf in flight, in fall 
foyer, stammer of wind, a patter
hovering, dust hushed or 
pressed to trembling 
glass, smut, soot, mutter 
of moth or withered stem, 
late haze, gray stutter
crumpled, crushed, 
falter, fall, a tread ...


November

williwaw, brawl in air, 
shunt or sinew of wind shear
blown off course, pewter skew
vicinity, winnow and complicit 

sky preoccupied with grizzle,
winter feed of lawns' snared
weathervane, whey-faced day
brume all afternoon of it 

(lead reticence of five o'clock)
remnant slate all paucity and drift
salt splay, slur and matte brink
snow stammers against sidewalks


December

White light seen through 
the season's double window
clouding the room reveals the roses'
week-old gift of petals bruised purple-black.
Dry paper falling on white cloth 
seconds the white room's wonder 
at cold sun flurried, crumbling stars
compacted underfoot: lattice 
of fixed clarity, wintrish eidolon
half patience, half at prayer.
Poems about Fruit
next
An Apple Gathering
Christina Rossetti, 1830 - 1894
I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple-tree
    And wore them all that evening in my hair:
Then in due season when I went to see
        I found no apples there.

With dangling basket all along the grass
    As I had come I went the selfsame track:
My neighbours mocked me while they saw me pass
        So empty-handed back.

Lilian and Lilias smiled in trudging by,
    Their heaped-up basket teased me like a jeer;
Sweet-voiced they sang beneath the sunset sky,
        Their mother's home was near.

Plump Gertrude passed me with her basket full,
    A stronger hand than hers helped it along;
A voice talked with her through the shadows cool
        More sweet to me than song.

Ah Willie, Willie, was my love less worth
    Than apples with their green leaves piled above?
I counted rosiest apples on the earth
        Of far less worth than love.

So once it was with me you stooped to talk
    Laughing and listening in this very lane:
To think that by this way we used to walk
        We shall not walk again!

I let me neighbours pass me, ones and twos
    And groups; the latest said the night grew chill,
And hastened: but I loitered, while the dews
        Fell fast I loitered still.
Poems about Fruit
next
Problems with Hurricanes
Victor Hernández Cruz, 1949
A campesino looked at the air
And told me:
With hurricanes it's not the wind
or the noise or the water.
I'll tell you he said:
it's the mangoes, avocados
Green plantains and bananas
flying into town like projectiles.

How would your family
feel if they had to tell
The generations that you
got killed by a flying
Banana.

Death by drowning has honor
If the wind picked you up
and slammed you
Against a mountain boulder
This would not carry shame
But
to suffer a mango smashing
Your skull
or a plantain hitting your
Temple at 70 miles per hour
is the ultimate disgrace.

The campesino takes off his hat—
As a sign of respect
toward the fury of the wind
And says:
Don't worry about the noise
Don't worry about the water
Don't worry about the wind—
If you are going out
beware of mangoes
And all such beautiful
sweet things.
Poems about Fruit
next
Plums
Catherine Savage Brosman
They’re Santa Rosas, crimson, touched by blue,
with slightly mottled skin and amber flesh,
transparently proposing by their hue
the splendor of an August morning, fresh

but ruddy, ripening toward fall.—"So sweet,
so cold," the poet said; but this one’s tart,
its sunny glow perfected in deceit,
as emulation of a cunning heart.

I eat it anyway, until the pit
alone remains, with scattered drops of juice,
such sour trophies proving nature's wit:
appearances and real in fragile truce.
Poems about Fruit
next
Blue or Green
James Galvin, 1951
We don't belong to each other.
		          We belong together.
	                                                                  Some poems 
belong together to prove the intentionality of subatomic particles.
                                     
Some poems eat with scissors.
                                                     Some poems are like kissing a 
porcupine. 
                   God, by the way, is disappointed in some of your recent 
choices.
               Some poems swoop.
                                                   When she said my eyes were 
definitely blue, I said, How can you see that in the dark?
				      How can
you not? she said, and that was like some poems.
                                                                                  Some poems are 
blinded three times.
                                   Some poems go like death before dishonor.
	                                                                     
Some poems go like the time she brought cherries to the movies; 
later a heedless picnic in her bed.
		                 Never revered I crumbs so
highly.
            Some poems have perfect posture, as if hanging by 
filaments from the sky. 
                                        Those poems walk like dancers, 
noiselessly.
                      All poems are love poems.  
                                                                   Some poems are better off 
dead.
           Right now I want something I don't believe in.
Poems about Fruit
next
Goblin Market
Christina Rossetti, 1830 - 1894

Goblin MarketMorning and evening Maids heard the goblins cry: "Come buy our orchard fruits, Come buy, come buy: Apples and quinces, Lemons and oranges, Plump unpecked cherries, Melons and raspberries, Bloom-down-cheeked peaches, Swart-headed mulberries, Wild free-born cranberries, Crab-apples, dewberries, Pine-apples, blackberries, Apricots, strawberries;— All ripe together In summer weather,— Morns that pass by, Fair eves that fly; Come buy, come buy; Our grapes fresh from the vine, Pomegranates full and fine, Dates and sharp bullaces, Rare pears and greengages, Damsons and bilberries, Taste them and try: Currants and gooseberries, Bright-fire-like barberries, Figs to fill your mouth, Citrons from the South, Sweet to tongue and sound to eye, Come buy, come buy." Evening by evening Among the brookside rushes, Laura bowed her head to hear, Lizzie veiled her blushes: Crouching close together In the cooling weather, With clasping arms and cautioning lips, With tingling cheeks and fingertips. "Lie close," Laura said, Pricking up her golden head: "We must not look at goblin men, We must not buy their fruits: Who knows upon what soil they fed Their hungry thirsty roots?" "Come buy," call the goblins Hobbling down the glen. "Oh," cried Lizzie, "Laura, Laura, You should not peep at goblin men." Lizzie covered up her eyes Covered close lest they should look; Laura reared her glossy head, And whispered like the restless brook: "Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie, Down the glen tramp little men. One hauls a basket, One bears a plate, One lugs a golden dish Of many pounds weight. How fair the vine must grow Whose grapes are so luscious; How warm the wind must blow Thro' those fruit bushes." "No," said Lizzie, "No, no, no; Their offers should not charm us, Their evil gifts would harm us." She thrust a dimpled finger In each ear, shut eyes and ran: Curious Laura chose to linger Wondering at each merchant man. One had a cat's face, One whisked a tail, One tramped at a rat's pace, One crawled like a snail, One like a wombat prowled obtuse and furry, One like a ratel tumbled hurry scurry. She heard a voice like voice of doves Cooing all together: They sounded kind and full of loves In the pleasant weather. Laura stretched her gleaming neck Like a rush-imbedded swan, Like a lily from the beck, Like a moonlit poplar branch, Like a vessel at the launch When its last restraint is gone. Backwards up the mossy glen Turned and trooped the goblin men, With their shrill repeated cry, "Come buy, come buy." When they reached where Laura was They stood stock still upon the moss, Leering at each other, Brother with queer brother; Signalling each other, Brother with sly brother. One set his basket down, One reared his plate; One began to weave a crown Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown (Men sell not such in any town); One heaved the golden weight Of dish and fruit to offer her: "Come buy, come buy," was still their cry. Laura stared but did not stir, Longed but had no money: The whisk-tailed merchant bade her taste In tones as smooth as honey, The cat-faced purr'd, The rat-paced spoke a word Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard; One parrot-voiced and jolly Cried "Pretty Goblin" still for "Pretty Polly;"— One whistled like a bird. But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste: "Good folk, I have no coin; To take were to purloin: I have no copper in my purse, I have no silver either, And all my gold is on the furze That shakes in windy weather Above the rusty heather." "You have much gold upon your head," They answered all together: "Buy from us with a golden curl." She clipped a precious golden lock, She dropped a tear more rare than pearl, Then sucked their fruit globes fair or red: Sweeter than honey from the rock, Stronger than man-rejoicing wine, Clearer than water flowed that juice; She never tasted such before, How should it cloy with length of use? She sucked and sucked and sucked the more Fruits which that unknown orchard bore, She sucked until her lips were sore; Then flung the emptied rinds away But gathered up one kernel-stone, And knew not was it night or day As she turned home alone. Lizzie met her at the gate Full of wise upbraidings: "Dear, you should not stay so late, Twilight is not good for maidens; Should not loiter in the glen In the haunts of goblin men. Do you not remember Jeanie, How she met them in the moonlight, Took their gifts both choice and many, Ate their fruits and wore their flowers Plucked from bowers Where summer ripens at all hours? But ever in the moonlight She pined and pined away; Sought them by night and day, Found them no more but dwindled and grew grey; Then fell with the first snow, While to this day no grass will grow Where she lies low: I planted daisies there a year ago That never blow. You should not loiter so." "Nay, hush," said Laura: "Nay, hush, my sister: I ate and ate my fill, Yet my mouth waters still; Tomorrow night I will Buy more:" and kissed her: "Have done with sorrow; I'll bring you plums tomorrow Fresh on their mother twigs, Cherries worth getting; You cannot think what figs My teeth have met in, What melons, icy-cold Piled on a dish of gold Too huge for me to hold, What peaches with a velvet nap, Pellucid grapes without one seed: Odorous indeed must be the mead Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink, With lilies at the brink, And sugar-sweet their sap." Golden head by golden head, Like two pigeons in one nest Folded in each other's wings, They lay down in their curtained bed: Like two blossoms on one stem, Like two flakes of new-fall'n snow, Like two wands of ivory Tipped with gold for awful kings. Moon and stars gazed in at them, Wind sang to them lullaby, Lumbering owls forbore to fly, Not a bat flapped to and fro Round their rest: Cheek to cheek and breast to breast Locked together in one nest. Early in the morning When the first cock crowed his warning, Neat like bees, as sweet and busy, Laura rose with Lizzie: Fetched in honey, milked the cows, Aired and set to rights the house, Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat, Cakes for dainty mouths to eat, Next churned butter, whipped up cream, Fed their poultry, sat and sewed; Talked as modest maidens should: Lizzie with an open heart, Laura in an absent dream, One content, one sick in part; One warbling for the mere bright day's delight, One longing for the night. At length slow evening came: They went with pitchers to the reedy brook; Lizzie most placid in her look, Laura most like a leaping flame. They drew the gurgling water from its deep; Lizzie plucked purple and rich golden flags, Then turning homeward said: "The sunset flushes Those furthest loftiest crags; Come, Laura, not another maiden lags, No wilful squirrel wags, The beasts and birds are fast asleep." But Laura loitered still among the rushes And said the bank was steep. And said the hour was early still, The dew not fall'n, the wind not chill: Listening ever, but not catching The customary cry, "Come buy, come buy," With its iterated jingle Of sugar-baited words: Not for all her watching Once discerning even one goblin Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling; Let alone the herds That used to tramp along the glen, In groups or single, Of brisk fruit-merchant men. Till Lizzie urged, "O Laura, come; I hear the fruit-call, but I dare not look: You should not loiter longer at this brook: Come with me home. The stars rise, the moon bends her arc, Each glowworm winks her spark, Let us get home before the night grows dark: For clouds may gather even Tho' this is summer weather, Put out the lights and drench us thro'; Then if we lost our way what should we do?" Laura turned cold as stone To find her sister heard that cry alone, That goblin cry, "Come buy our fruits, come buy." Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit? Must she no more such succous pasture find, Gone deaf and blind? Her tree of life drooped from the root: She said not one word in her heart's sore ache; But peering thro' the dimness, naught discerning, Trudged home, her pitcher dripping all the way; So crept to bed, and lay Silent till Lizzie slept; Then sat up in a passionate yearning, And gnashed her teeth for baulked desire, and wept As if her heart would break. Day after day, night after night, Laura kept watch in vain, In sullen silence of exceeding pain. She never caught again the goblin cry: "Come buy, come buy;"— She never spied the goblin men Hawking their fruits along the glen: But when the noon waxed bright Her hair grew thin and gray; She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn To swift decay and burn Her fire away. One day remembering her kernel-stone She set it by a wall that faced the south; Dewed it with tears, hoped for a root, Watched for a waxing shoot, But there came none; It never saw the sun, It never felt the trickling moisture run: While with sunk eyes and faded mouth She dreamed of melons, as a traveller sees False waves in desert drouth With shade of leaf-crowned trees, And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze. She no more swept the house, Tended the fowls or cows, Fetched honey, kneaded cakes of wheat, Brought water from the brook: But sat down listless in the chimney-nook And would not eat. Tender Lizzie could not bear To watch her sister's cankerous care Yet not to share. She night and morning Caught the goblins' cry: "Come buy our orchard fruits, Come buy, come buy:"— Beside the brook, along the glen, She heard the tramp of goblin men, The voice and stir Poor Laura could not hear; Longed to buy fruit to comfort her, But feared to pay too dear. She thought of Jeanie in her grave, Who should have been a bride; But who for joys brides hope to have Fell sick and died In her gay prime, In earliest Winter time, With the first glazing rime, With the first snow-fall of crisp Winter time. Till Laura dwindling Seemed knocking at Death's door: Then Lizzie weighed no more Better and worse; But put a silver penny in her purse, Kissed Laura, crossed the heath with clumps of furze At twilight, halted by the brook: And for the first time in her life Began to listen and look. Laughed every goblin When they spied her peeping: Came towards her hobbling, Flying, running, leaping, Puffing and blowing, Chuckling, clapping, crowing, Clucking and gobbling, Mopping and mowing, Full of airs and graces, Pulling wry faces, Demure grimaces, Cat-like and rat-like, Ratel and wombat-like, Snail-paced in a hurry, Parrot-voiced and whistler, Helter skelter, hurry skurry, Chattering like magpies, Fluttering like pigeons, Gliding like fishes,— Hugged her and kissed her, Squeezed and caressed her: Stretched up their dishes, Panniers, and plates: "Look at our apples Russet and dun, Bob at our cherries Bite at our peaches, Citrons and dates, Grapes for the asking, Pears red with basking Out in the sun, Plums on their twigs; Pluck them and suck them, Pomegranates, figs."— "Good folk," said Lizzie, Mindful of Jeanie, "Give me much and many:"— Held out her apron, Tossed them her penny. "Nay, take a seat with us, Honor and eat with us," They answered grinning; "Our feast is but beginning. Night yet is early, Warm and dew-pearly, Wakeful and starry: Such fruits as these No man can carry; Half their bloom would fly, Half their dew would dry, Half their flavor would pass by. Sit down and feast with us, Be welcome guest with us, Cheer you and rest with us."— "Thank you," said Lizzie; "But one waits At home alone for me: So, without further parleying, If you will not sell me any Of your fruits tho' much and many, Give me back my silver penny I tossed you for a fee."— They began to scratch their pates, No longer wagging, purring, But visibly demurring, Grunting and snarling. One called her proud, Cross-grained, uncivil; Their tones waxed loud, Their looks were evil. Lashing their tails They trod and hustled her, Elbowed and jostled her, Clawed with their nails, Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking, Tore her gown and soiled her stocking, Twitched her hair out by the roots, Stamped upon her tender feet, Held her hands and squeezed their fruits Against her mouth to make her eat. White and golden Lizzie stood, Like a lily in a flood, Like a rock of blue-veined stone Lashed by tides obstreperously, -- Like a beacon left alone In a hoary roaring sea, Sending up a golden fire, -- Like a fruit-crowned orange-tree White with blossoms honey-sweet Sore beset by wasp and bee, -- Like a royal virgin town Topped with gilded dome and spire Close beleaguered by a fleet Mad to tear her standard down. One may lead a horse to water, Twenty cannot make him drink. Tho' the goblins cuffed and caught her, Coaxed and fought her, Bullied and besought her, Scratched her, pinched her black as ink, Kicked and knocked her, Mauled and mocked her, Lizzie uttered not a word; Would not open lip from lip Lest they should cram a mouthful in: But laughed in heart to feel the drip Of juice that syruped all her face, And lodged in dimples of her chin, And streaked her neck which quaked like curd. At last the evil people, Worn out by her resistance Flung back her penny, kicked their fruit Along whichever road they took, Not leaving root or stone or shoot. Some writhed into the ground, Some dived into the brook With ring and ripple, Some scudded on the gale without a sound, Some vanished in the distance. In a smart, ache, tingle, Lizzie went her way; Knew not was it night or day; Sprang up the bank, tore through the furze, Threaded copse and dingle, And heard her penny jingle Bouncing in her purse, Its bounce was music to her ear. She ran and ran As if she feared some goblin man Dogged her with gibe or curse Or something worse: But not one goblin skurried after, Nor was she pricked by fear; The kind heart made her windy-paced That urged her home quite out of breath with haste And inward laughter. She cried "Laura," up the garden, "Did you miss me? Come and kiss me. Never mind my bruises, Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices Squeezed from goblin fruits for you, Goblin pulp and goblin dew. Eat me, drink me, love me; Laura, make much of me: For your sake I have braved the glen And had to do with goblin merchant men." Laura started from her chair, Flung her arms up in the air, Clutched her hair: "Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted For my sake the fruit forbidden? Must your light like mine be hidden, Your young life like mine be wasted, Undone in mine undoing, And ruined in my ruin, Thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden?" She clung about her sister, Kissed and kissed and kissed her: Tears once again Refreshed her shrunken eyes, Dropping like rain After long sultry drouth; Shaking with aguish fear, and pain, She kissed and kissed her with a hungry mouth. Her lips began to scorch, That juice was wormwood to her tongue, She loathed the feast: Writhing as one possessed she leaped and sung, Rent all her robe, and wrung Her hands in lamentable haste, And beat her breast. Her locks streamed like the torch Borne by a racer at full speed, Or like the mane of horses in their flight, Or like an eagle when she stems the light Straight toward the sun, Or like a caged thing freed, Or like a flying flag when armies run. Swift fire spread thro' her veins, knocked at her heart, Met the fire smouldering there And overbore its lesser flame; She gorged on bitterness without a name: Ah! fool, to choose such part Of soul-consuming care! Sense failed in the mortal strife: Like the watch-tower of a town Which an earthquake shatters down, Like a lightning-stricken mast, Like a wind-uprooted tree Spun about, Like a foam-topped waterspout Cast down headlong in the sea, She fell at last; Pleasure past and anguish past, Is it death or is it life ? Life out of death. That night long Lizzie watched by her, Counted her pulse's flagging stir, Felt for her breath, Held water to her lips, and cooled her face With tears and fanning leaves: But when the first birds chirped about their eaves, And early reapers plodded to the place Of golden sheaves, And dew-wet grass Bowed in the morning winds so brisk to pass, And new buds with new day Opened of cup-like lilies on the stream, Laura awoke as from a dream, Laughed in the innocent old way, Hugged Lizzie but not twice or thrice; Her gleaming locks showed not one thread of gray, Her breath was sweet as May, And light danced in her eyes. Days, weeks, months, years Afterwards, when both were wives With children of their own; Their mother-hearts beset with fears, Their lives bound up in tender lives; Laura would call the little ones And tell them of her early prime, Those pleasant days long gone Of not-returning time: Would talk about the haunted glen, The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men, Their fruits like honey to the throat, But poison in the blood; (Men sell not such in any town:) Would tell them how her sister stood In deadly peril to do her good, And win the fiery antidote: Then joining hands to little hands Would bid them cling together, "For there is no friend like a sister, In calm or stormy weather, To cheer one on the tedious way, To fetch one if one goes astray, To lift one if one totters down, To strengthen whilst one stands."

Poems about Fruit
next
White Apples
Donald Hall, 1928
when my father had been dead a week
I woke
with his voice in my ear
I sat up in bed
and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes
Poems about Fruit
next
Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays
Charles Reznikoff, 1894 - 1976
I
New Year's

The solid houses in the mist 
are thin as tissue paper; 
the water laps slowly at the rocks; 
and the ducks from the north are here 
at rest on the grey ripples. 

The company in which we went 
so free of care, so carelessly, 
has scattered. Good-bye, 
to you who lie behind in graves, 
to you who galloped proudly off! 
Pockets and heart are empty. 

This is the autumn and our harvest--
such as it is, such as it is--
the beginnings of the end, bare trees and barren ground; 
but for us only the beginning: 
let the wild goat's horn and the silver trumpet sound!

Reason upon reason 
to be thankful: 
for the fruit of the earth, 
for the fruit of the tree, 
for the light of the fire, 
and to have come to this season. 

The work of our hearts is dust 
to be blown about in the winds 
by the God of our dead in the dust 
but our Lord delighting in life 
(let the wild goat's horn 
and the silver trumpet sound!)
our God Who imprisons in coffin and grave 
and unbinds the bound. 

You have loved us greatly and given us 
Your laws 
for an inheritance, 
Your sabbaths, holidays, and seasons of gladness, 
distinguishing Israel 
from other nations--
distinguishing us 
above the shoals of men. 
And yet why should we be remembered--
if at all--only for peace, if grief 
is also for all? Our hopes, 
if they blossom, if they blossom at all, the petals 
and fruit fall. 

You have given us the strength 
to serve You, 
but we may serve or not 
as we please; 
not for peace nor for prosperity, 
not even for length of life, have we merited 
remembrance; remember us 
as the servants 
You have inherited. 


II
Day of Atonement 

The great Giver has ended His disposing; 
the long day 
is over and the gates are closing. 
How badly all that has been read 
was read by us, 
how poorly all that should be said. 

All wickedness shall go in smoke. 
It must, it must! 
The just shall see and be glad. 
The sentence is sweet and sustaining; 
for we, I suppose, are the just; 
and we, the remaining. 

If only I could write with four pens between five fingers 
and with each pen a different sentence at the same time--
but the rabbis say it is a lost art, a lost art. 
I well believe it. And at that of the first twenty sins that we confess, 
five are by speech alone; 
little wonder that I must ask the Lord to bless 
the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart. 

Now, as from the dead, I revisit the earth and delight 
in the sky, and hear again 
the noise of the city and see 
earth's marvelous creatures--men. 
Out of nothing I became a being, 
and from a being I shall be 
nothing--but until then 
I rejoice, a mote in Your world, 
a spark in Your seeing. 


III 
Feast of Booths

This was a season of our fathers' joy: 
not only when they gathered grapes and the fruit of trees 
in Israel, but when, locked in the dark and stony streets, 
they held--symbols of a life from which they were banished 
but to which they would surely return--
the branches of palm trees and of willows, the twigs of the myrtle, 
and the bright odorous citrons. 

This was the grove of palms with its deep well 
in the stony ghetto in the blaze of noon; 
this the living stream lined with willows; 
and this the thick-leaved myrtles and trees heavy with fruit 
in the barren ghetto--a garden 
where the unjustly hated were justly safe at last. 

In booths this week of holiday 
as those who gathered grapes in Israel lived 
and also to remember we were cared for 
in the wilderness--
I remember how frail my present dwelling is
 even if of stones and steel. 

I know this is the season of our joy: 
we have completed the readings of the Law 
and we begin again; 
but I remember how slowly I have learnt, how little, 
how fast the year went by, the years--how few. 


IV
Hanukkah

The swollen dead fish float on the water;
the dead birds lie in the dust trampled to feathers;
the lights have been out a long time and the quick gentle hands that lit them --
rosy in the yellow tapers' glow--
have long ago become merely nails and little bones,
and of the mouths that said the blessing and the minds that thought it
only teeth are left and skulls, shards of skulls.
By all means, then, let us have psalms
and days of dedication anew to the old causes.

Penniless, penniless, I have come with less and still less
to this place of my need and the lack of this hour.
That was a comforting word the prophet spoke:
Not by might nor by power but by My spirit, said the Lord;
comforting, indeed, for those who have neither might nor power--
for a blade of grass, for a reed.

The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light--
in a little cruse--lasted as long as they say;
but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day:
let that nourish my flickering spirit.

Go swiftly in your chariot, my fellow Jew,
you who are blessed with horses;
and I will follow as best I can afoot,
bringing with me perhaps a word or two.
Speak your learned and witty discourses
and I will utter my word or two--
not by might not by power
but by Your Spirit, Lord.
Poems about Fruit
next
The Mediterranean
Allen Tate, 1899 - 1979

Quen das finem, rex magne, dolorum?

Where we went in the boat was a long bay
a slingshot wide, walled in by towering stone--
Peaked margin of antiquity's delay,
And we went there out of time's monotone:

Where we went in the black hull no light moved
But a gull white-winged along the feckless wave,
The breeze, unseen but fierce as a body loved,
That boat drove onward like a willing slave:

Where we went in the small ship the seaweed
Parted and gave to us the murmuring shore
And we made feast and in our secret need
Devoured the very plates Aeneas bore:

Where derelict you see through the low twilight
The green coast that you, thunder-tossed, would win,
Drop sail, and hastening to drink all night
Eat dish and bowl--to take that sweet land in!

Where we feasted and caroused on the sandless
Pebbles, affecting our day of piracy,
What prophecy of eaten plates could landless
Wanderers fulfil by the ancient sea?

We for that time might taste the famous age
Eternal here yet hidden from our eyes
When lust of power undid its stuffless rage;
They, in a wineskin, bore earth's paradise.

Let us lie down once more by the breathing side
Of Ocean, where our live forefathers sleep
As if the Known Sea still were a month wide--
Atlantis howls but is no longer steep!

What country shall we conquer, what fair land
Unman our conquest and locate our blood?
We've cracked the hemispheres with careless hand!
Now, from the Gates of Hercules we flood

Westward, westward till the barbarous brine
Whelms us to the tired land where tasseling corn,
Fat beans, grapes sweeter than muscadine
Rot on the vine: in that land were we born.
Poems about Fruit
next
Heat
H. D., 1886 - 1961
O wind, rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air--
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes.

Cut the heat--
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path.
Poems about Fruit
next
After Apple-Picking
Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.