I’m spending a some time at my parents’ place at the moment, and one of the things that always characterizes home for me is the overabundance of fruit that my family likes to keep in the house — on top of the microwave, in the fridge, on the butcher block, on the floor next to the butcher block, in cardboard boxes in the garage. We really love our fruit — we eat lots of it after every meal, and lots of different kinds. This week alone, the five of us here have demolished a number of mangoes, a large pineapple, half a giant watermelon, a honeydew melon, and much of a large box of strawberries (we’ve yet to break into the large papaya next to the counter but I suspect that it’s slated to appear at tonight’s evening meal). Fruit may seem like an odd topic for a poetry blog — but I assure you that it’s much less far-off than it may sound. It occurred to me recently just how many famous poems have been written about fruit — Li-Young Lee’s “Persimmons,” Gary Soto’s “Oranges,” William Carlos Williams’ “This Is Just to Say,” and Robert Frost’s “After Apple-Picking” are just a few that come to mind (Poets.org has a list of many more). And then there is the Biblical association of the fruit that stems from original sin, the folk associations in many traditions between fruit and fertility. Fruit, it seems, is a subject that has the potential to draw out longing, desire, sensual pleasure — both epicurean and sexual — for the writer. And writing about encounters with different kinds of fruit and with different ways of preparing them (as in Lee’s “Persimmons”) may be a way of engaging with cultural difference, alienation, or homesickness, as well. I never thought much of eating papaya, pomelo, longan as a child — but it was fruit like these that I would find myself missing the most deeply years later when I grew up and moved away.
Prompt: Write a poem about a fruit whose associations figure significantly in your memories of a particular person, time, or place.