fruit picking: revisiting memories of previous summers

Rather like the ravenous, darting wasps who seemingly cannot get enough of the windfall apples in the orchard we look out on, I’m a self-confessed fruitaholic who revels in the wider choice and bounty that summer brings to us.

But the best way to appreciate fresh fruit is to either grow your own—says she, happily munching on yummy home-grown greengages from her son’s garden—or to pick your own (pyo) fresh from the field, like I used to do as a girl.

Though I furtively ate a fair share, fruit picking was done mostly in pursuit of extra money in my pocket, to savour the sun and fresh air, and to helpfully keep out of my parent’s way during the long summer holiday. Here’s a glimpse of that experience… 🍓🍒🍐🍏

Fruit picking

I bend to the task before me 
with inky-blue stained fingers 
cradling soft, squishy currants 
with increasing expertise.

My mahogany neck
is a fragile stem, 
crisped by sun’s fierce heat, 
with my hair bleaching 
blonder by the day.

Summer was mostly lived 
outdoors. My sister and I 
could disappear for hours
and venture further 
from home’s confines.

It was a needful breathing 
space in the school year, 
where being yourself 
was easier to bear. 

Stretching like a lazy cat 
warming herself, I smile 
at the heavy weight of fruit 
sat down by my feet. 

A good crop means more 
money in my pocket,
and enough for the full
bus fare home, at least.

Despite the exertion,
it beats potato 
or strawberry picking 
because here I can stand up
to reach the glistening crop.

Wiping beads of sweat 
from my forehead,
I notice how grubby 
my white gypsy top looks, 
smeared with grime 
and smatterings of juice.

Soon I spot someone 
glaring in my direction 
as the line checkers move 
our way. They don't like 
unaccompanied children,

unless they see you working, 
filling baskets instead of 
bellies. I dutifully bow my
head back to the bushes, 

knowing that when I close my 
eyes tonight I will see a vast 
spread of blackcurrants, 
hanging like dark lanterns 
on my closed eyelids.
© joylenton

What childhood summer memories linger in your mind? Can you still savour the sight, sound, taste or smell of them? Do share in the comments below. Xx 🙂 ❤

PS: This poem was created by adapting an excerpt of a post previously shared on my Words of Joy blog and the ACW More Than Writers blog.

5 thoughts on “fruit picking: revisiting memories of previous summers

  1. Summer memories of picking mangoes and sitting under the tree’s shade enjoying a few away of them while sheltering from the heat of the day. Still lovely memories after a very long time. Nice sharing. Thank you Joy.

  2. Thank you for your memory-stirring poetry here. I could almost feel the heat upon my own neck as I read with you! My friend and I used to pick wild raspberries at the edge of our neighborhood. My friend’s mom made pies, but our family never seemed to save enough for pies. We gobbled them all before my Mom could get to them for baking! I’m so glad you shared these thoughts today. Blessings upon your summer courtyard there, with views of an orchard! Love & hugs dear friend! 🤗

    • Oh, wild raspberries, yes please! I’d find it hard to resist gobbling them too. This evening we ate a lovely fruit quiche for desert with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and grapes. They were a treat for us to enjoy because Phil did the major grocery shopping today. We’re really blessed to have an orchard view from the patio as we get to see an abundance of apple trees with a mix of cooking and eating ones, a handful of pear trees and a sprinkling of walnut and magnolia trees. Happy fruit eating, my dear friend! Love and hugs to you, too! xo 😊💟🍏

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