Fruit poems are often used as a rich metaphorical device, symbolizing various aspects of life, love, temptation, and even mortality. Juicy and vibrant, fruits evoke sensory experiences and carry layers of meaning. They can represent the sweetness of love or the tang of desire, the ripe abundance of life or the fleeting nature of time. In poetry, fruits become potent symbols, each variety imbued with its own significance. Apples might stand for knowledge and temptation, while grapes could signify abundance and indulgence. The poetic use of fruit goes beyond its physicality, exploring the depths of human emotions and experiences. It’s a versatile symbol, able to convey both the delectable and the decayed, making it a favorite among poets.
Examples of Fruit Poems
Here are some famous examples of fruit poems, and one of my own.
This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
After Apple Picking by Robert Frost
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.
Read the full poem here.
Ode to the Lemon by Pablo Neruda
Cutting the lemon
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.
Read the full poem here.
Oranges by Gary Soto
The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.
December. Frost cracking
Beneath my steps, my breath
Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather.
A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling
At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore.
Read the whole poem here.
Tangerine-Sized Love by C.W. Bryan
Each day from my apartment window
I watch you walk down the street
into the warm coral sunset
with your tangerine-sized love
that you carry in a woven basket down
the street, doling them out to strangers
and watching the juices drip down
their familiar chins.