Ode to an Orange


I have an orange sitting on my desk. It was deposited there by Dustin yesterday, one of many in a large bag of oranges from his Grandmother, recently arrived from Arizona.

I have been staring at my orange for two days, then. I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about eating it, but I’ve given that up today in favor of smelling it. It smells wonderful, like summer in California when I was 9. My grandparents grew orange trees. The oranges were never big enough to eat when I was there, but the trees smelled wonderful.

And it smells like an open market in Europe, fruit on one side, flowers on the other. That, in turn, makes me think of wet cobbled streets where cars aren’t allowed to drive and wrinkly old men wearing funny hats and offering you a sample of today’s special fruit. My mouth waters just thinking of it.

Dustin said he thought it smelled like an orange. He is wrong.

My orange is also perfectly round. It isn’t a lumpy orange, like sometimes oranges are. It is a bright, beautiful shade of orange, too. Seeing it, you understand why the fruit and color share a name.

It isn’t a perfect orange. Its rind is a bit scuffed, but it is quite good enough for me.

Will I ever eat it? I’m not sure. I have elevated my orange onto a pedestal, and I’m afraid that if I eat it and it isn’t as juicy and wonderful as I’ve imagined, it might break my heart.


10 thoughts on “Ode to an Orange

  1. All of the freshman at my school just wrote odes. None were as lovely as yours is. I eat an orange every day for lunch–well, almost every day. Most of them are wonderful. I should let one sit so I can admire it sometime soon.

    I’ve always loved your simplicity and excitement about little things.

  2. Thank you for the lovely comment. And as a post note, I did eat my orange. It was every bit as good as I’d hoped it would be. Thank goodness.

  3. “It was every bit as good as I’d hoped it would be.” This line reminds me of one in William Carlos William’s poem “this is just to say”:

    I have eaten
    the plums
    that were in
    the icebox

    and which
    you were probably
    for breakfast

    Forgive me
    they were delicious
    so sweet
    and so cold

    I had my kiddos write poems a la WCW on post-its and share where they’d post them–one about finding a wallet, but there was no money inside; one about crashing the car stuck on the keys by the front door; one about leaving a significant other taped to the front door. Hmmm.

    I wish I wrote more often. I think I’m best at letters, though. That reminds me that the other day I came across dozens of emails we sent when we were studying abroad. I really miss you sometimes. Like now.

  4. What a lovely poem. It’s so descriptive with so very few words. I used to have another of his poems memorized: “So much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain beside the white chickens.” Mm. What a wonderful perspective he had on life!

    I have all those emails saved somewhere too. I’ve been systematically working my way backward through all the epic emails I ever wrote, moving them here to this blog. I never manage to put up more than one or two at a time, because as I sift through old emails, I get distracted by the other things I sent and received. I love rereading old letters/emails, and the ones we swapped will always be some of my favorites. 🙂

  5. I read a pem at school called “The Orange.” It was about a boy with two oranges who was friends with a girl and they went to the store together and she wanted a chcolate bar but the boy didn’t have enough money so he put what he had and 1 orange on the counter of the store. the clerk gave him a knowing look, and the kids went home. the girl was eating the chocolate as they walked, and the boy peeled the last orange. it says “To the casual observer, it would seem as though I was making a fire in my hands” or something like that ^_^

  6. hey. my name is tina. i was searching through google to help my friend who’s writin an ode for college. shes been stuck on it for hours.. so when i searched online i found yours and when i read it, i loved it. its soo descriptive, short, and simple. it also has a good ring to it 2. good job and keep at it.

  7. I had to do an ode to an orange. I will never look at an orange the same way ever again. Im sure the freshman in my class must agree since we all groan everytime some one even mentions an orange. But your is very good actually. Mine was mediocer but hey it got me an A. I just commented to let you know that this is very good, short and sweet. perfect.

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