bowls of fruit, peanuts, and a book

Incorporating Fruit Metaphors into Your Poetry

As we bask in the sunny spring weather, many of us might enjoy a cold piece of fruit to help us cool off, stroll through the farmers market with a bag of locally-grown fruit, and look forward to summer fruit picking.


And like any part of the natural world, fruit is an interesting subject to explore in your poetry. Ranging from light-hearted to serious poems, you can easily incorporate fruit into your work. To help get you started, take inspiration from these fruit-inspired tips and writing exercises.


When life hands you lemons, make lemonade


We all know the timeless saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Use this adage as inspiration for a poem by reflecting on a point in your life when you transformed a struggle into a strength. Structure your poem by beginning the piece with a variation of “Life gave me lemons” and ending it with some version of “but I made lemonade.” 


Consider the ways in which you might incorporate each step of the lemonade-making process into your poem, and what those steps represent. For example, cutting a lemon in half might symbolize opening wounds and finding opportunity. Or, customizing your lemonade with other ingredients could serve as a metaphor for carving your own healing path.


Delve into a fruity memory


Throughout the ups and downs of life, many of us find comfort in memories—and our cherished moments often feature food at the center. Whether you often think of a family recipe or a beloved tradition, write a poem exploring a fruit-centric memory. 


How can you use fruit subjects as poetic metaphors? Perhaps enjoying the warmth and sweetness of an apple pie mirrors the joy of spending time with loved ones. Or, picking strawberries in the summer might symbolize connecting with nature. 


As you write, rely on rich imagery to bring your poem to life, describing the way the fruit looks, smells, and tastes. Paint a picture of the scene, illustrating the details of a kitchen or outdoor landscape. 


Explore social justice issues like food insecurity, hunger, and food waste


In literature, fruit often symbolizes abundance, which makes it an ideal subject to explore social justice issues like hunger and food waste in your poetry. Pull from your personal experience or research to explore how food insecurity or hunger affects folks in your community. Write a poem advocating for change, creatively incorporating fruit throughout your piece, choosing a fruit that grows where you live, for example.


In contrast, write a poem about food waste. For inspiration, consider how you might reduce your own food waste, focusing on fruit as a central element in your poem. As a tip, depict yourself staring at a dumpster overflowing with produce, illustrating the ways in which individuals and organizations contribute to this societal problem.


Hopefully, these tips have encouraged you to think creatively as you write poetry—the most seemingly mundane items like fruit can spark endless inspiration.