‘From Blossoms’ is a short, moving poem about the beauty of life and the profound interconnectedness of all things. The speaker experiences joy through the simple act of eating peaches.
The poem paints a picture of a roadside farm stand selling peaches in the summer. The speaker and his friends or family eat the peaches, thinking all the while about how those peaches grew from blossoms and what their story entails. The beauty of the moment allows the speaker to temporarily forget the challenges of the world.
Explore From Blossoms
In ‘From Blossoms,’ the speaker thinks deeply about the journey that the peaches went on before he ate them, luxuriating in the vibrancy and joy in the world.
The poem starts with the speaker buying a bag of peaches from a boy at a roadside stall. He and his friends found the stall by following signs that said “Peaches.” The speaker thinks about the journey that the peaches took to get to him, from the point when they were just blossoms on trees right up until he ate them. He considers what it means to eat something: it also means carrying the history and meaning of that thing inside him.
At the poem’s end, the speaker thinks about how some days are much more joyful than others. Something as simple as eating peaches can make it seem as though nothing could ever go wrong.
Structure and Form
‘From Blossoms’ has four stanzas. The first two stanzas have five lines each; they are called quintets. The last two have six lines each, making them sestets. The poem is written in free verse, which means that it does not follow a particular meter or rhyme scheme. Although this is a free verse poem, it does use repetition of words and sounds to create a sense of formal cohesion.
- Alliteration: the repetition of sounds at the beginning of words. This poem uses alliteration to create a sense of rhythm and continuity. The first stanza, in particular, makes use of alliteration with “brown paper bag of peaches / we bought from the boy / at the bend…” (lines 2-4).
- Synecdoche: the use of a part of something to refer to the whole, or vice versa. The second stanza opens with an example of this unusual literary device: “From laden boughs, from hands…” (line 6). In this case, “hands” actually refer to farm workers who harvested the peaches. By focusing on their hands, the speaker gives, as it were, a peach-eye view of the journey.
- Repetition: the use of the same words or phrases to reinforce meanings and themes. The phrase “from blossoms” appears several times, particularly at the end of the poem. Repetition creates a sense of the intensity of the joy that the speaker feels throughout the poem. In stanza three, the repetition of the phrase “not only the” helps establish the enormity of what happens when one eats a peach, for instance.
- Metaphor: a direct comparison between two unlike things. In the third stanza of the poem, the speaker says that by eating a peach, one is also eating the orchard where it grew, the shade of the trees, and the days it took for the fruit to grow from a blossom. This is a way of speaking metaphorically about the history of the fruit; it is not to be taken literally.
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
The opening stanza of the poem introduces the premise of the story. The speaker describes how he found and bought the bag of peaches from a boy on the side of the road. He and his traveling companions followed signs painted with the word “Peaches.”
The simplicity of this scene helps make it feel at once personal and universal. The experience of buying fruit on impulse from a roadside stall is one that will be familiar to many readers, even though the details of this particular experience are unique to the speaker. The poem opens with the words “from blossoms,” which is the only indication so far of the poem’s broader theme of history and connection. Readers are invited to imagine the peaches growing from small flowers into ripe fruit, a process that will be explored in more detail in later stanzas.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
In the second stanza of ‘From Blossoms,’ the speaker imagines the journey that the peaches took to get to him. They started out growing on trees with many other peaches. They were picked and packed into bins. From there, they were brought to the roadside. The speaker and his friends eat the peaches without washing them: their skin is still dusty. Far from being a downside, the taste of the dust reminds the speaker of summer.
This stanza draws the scope of the poem out beyond the day at the roadside and into a broader consideration of the process of agriculture. The peaches did not simply appear: they have a history, a provenance, and a connection to humanity. The poet briefly personifies the peaches when he describes their “sweet fellowship,” as though they are able to make friends with one another. This moment adds to the speaker’s optimistic and open-hearted approach to his experiences. In literature and poetry, dust often represents death. In this case, that narrative is flipped. Dust here represents summer, life, and the joys of eating fresh fruit.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
the round jubilance of peach.
The speaker thinks about what it really means to eat a peach. It is not a simple action in his view. Instead, it connects him to the peaches’ history, and he becomes part of their story. The speaker loves the peaches, seeing them as much more than just a snack. They are a beautiful result of many days of growth. He reflects on how lovely it is to look at a peach, hold it, and then eat it.
Although the speaker is talking specifically about peaches in this stanza of ‘From Blossoms,’ his idea of connection is more broadly applicable. Any time someone eats food, they become part of its story, from the earliest moments of its growth. The same is true of all actions in life that connect living things to one another. The speaker feels himself to be part of the world in a fully embodied way and implicitly invites readers to feel the same.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
In the last stanza of the poem, the speaker no longer talks about the roadside peaches at all. Instead, he muses on how wonderful certain days of one’s life are. These are days when one does not think about death, only joy. They are, the poem implies, unusual and beautiful occurrences. The peaches have provided the speaker with just such a day. They have reminded him of his place in the world and of the vital importance of joy.
Many people have had the experience of eating ripe fruit on a hot summer day. The ending of this poem suggests that such experiences are precious. Indeed, any experience that helps people feel this transcendent joy is precious. It is not every day that people can completely forget death. When they do get such an opportunity, they should cherish and fully appreciate it. It is unclear how far in the past the speaker had these peaches, but he clearly remembers it with great affection and even awe.
‘From Blossoms’ is about connecting with the world through simple pleasures. It is not just about eating peaches: it is about truly appreciating the ways that everything in the world is connected.
The main theme of ‘From Blossoms’ is joy. It is a poem about how some particularly wonderful days and moments can make people forget all their challenges and focus on their place in the world.