Eating an Apple

Illustration: Teresa Tanner, Apple Orchard



Look at it – the round, red, succulent, glowing globe.

Pluck it, twist off its stalk then make it yours.

Feel its silky skin; stick your tongue into its crevice;

Time-travel to Paradise with a special pass.


To chance upon someone biting an apple

Is to see someone at one with the world:

Closing their eyes at a crunch of satisfaction,

Then feeling rejuvenated and cleansed.


According to Nordic folk tales the apple

Holds the secret of eternal youth:

Since it fuels the hippocampus, the brain’s data bank,

With flavonoids, they may have a grain of truth.


As the first of the flowering plants on earth

The apple provided man with food for free.

Capitalism’s divisiveness was nowhere to be seen,

Just nature and its providential mystery –


Whereby a continuous supply of sustenance

Hangs down from the apple tree,

Thanks to its symbiotic relationship

With the communalistic bee.


Through its fragrant petals of soft blossoms

The apple seduces bees to aid pollination;

Then, when mammals ate its seed-bearing fruit,

Its nutrition was to have world distribution.


Likewise the utopian, John Chapman,

Also known as Johnny Appleseed,

Planted apples believing in growing new Edens

With everything man could possibly need.


“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” –

They contain vitamins A, C and E;

Pectin lowers blood pressure; boron builds brains

And their quercetin boosts immunity.


The liquid inside an apple is distilled

And is served in a germ-free container.

It flushes flesh’s tissue far more expertly

Than stale bottles of supermarket water.


As ripe orchards burgeon with a gorgeous goodness,

With the apples of the earth’s eye,

The sight of the fruit, grown from one tear-shaped seed,

Can surprise you into weeping for joy.


When Newton saw an apple fall from a tree he introduced

A new force to science, namely gravity;

And Cezanne boasted, “I will astonish Paris with an apple”

After painting one with a passionate intensity.


A swing suspended from the low-lying branch

Of an apple orchard’s enchanted tree

Can grant a child such a rich sense of triumph

That its whole life feels destined for glory.


Avalon, the Isle of Apples, is where a wounded Arthur

Was brought to be healed – to Glastonbury –

Ruled by Morgan le Fay, the Faerie Queen, and home

To legendary life-giving apples of immortality.


Merlin the magician sat beneath an apple tree to teach.

A golden apple led to the fall of Greece’s enemy, Troy.

Druids used forked apple branches as divining rods.

To Venus and Aphrodite apples symbolised joy.


To Robert Graves apples were an aphrodisiac:

There was no higher compliment in his eyes

Than that the breath of a beautiful woman

“Is like the steam of apple pies.”


Like red wine and chocolate, apples improve sexual function

By stimulating blood flow to genitals and vagina;

They also contain phloridzin[1], a lubricating hormone,

Thus apples make the act of love even diviner.


No one knows why the fruit of the tree of knowledge

Was banned by God in the Garden of Eden,

But if it heightened sensuality and made you feel immortal

Then jealous gods would need to see it forbidden.


Heathcote Williams


[1] Researchers says apples contain phloridzin, a common phytoestrogen that is structurally similar to estradiol — a female sex hormone — and plays a huge role in vaginal lubrication and female sexuality, notably in arousal.



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