Tell Me True

My grandmother always peeled an apple
with grandfather’s penknife, careful,
keeping it all in one piece.

I watched it twirl and curl,
with a whiff of sweetness,
pinched between her fingers.

She taught me a rhyme, that we said every time:
apple peel, apple peel, tell me true,
who am I going to get married to?

It landed on the table, always the same letter;
Grandmother sliced the apple flesh 
into halves and pointed to the centre:

there was the shape of an apple blossom inside
like the ones blown away on the day she died.

Kim M. Russell, 1st June 2021

40+ Free Apple Peel & Fruit Images

Free image from Pixabay

My poem for dVerse Poets Pub, where I am hosting Poetics: How to Cut a Pomegranate

My prompt was inspired by a poem by Imtiaz Dharker, ‘How to Cut a Pomegranate’, a very personal and intimate narrative, about a moment shared with the poet’s father, and how the magical fruit reminds her of the place of her birth. I love the description of the pomegranate.

The challenge is to think of a fruit, how it looks before and after it has been cut open, and how it tastes, where and how it grows, and what it makes us think of. We can write a poem in the style of Imtiaz Dharker or explore the fruit in another way and in any form we, making sure we appeal to the senses.

75 thoughts on “Tell Me True

  1. Apples seem to be a favorite fruit so far. I love how the memory is tied up to your grandmother’s memory – from the peeling to the rhyming and to the day she died. Lovely personal share Kim. Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the intimacy of the very personal story you tell here Kim. So warm in the telling and sad in the ending. We used to twist the apple stalk whilst saying the alphabet: whatever letter the stalk broke on would be the initial of your true love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ingrid. My apple peel always formed a clear ‘D’, so I thought I was going to marry my granddad, whose name was David. I didn’t realise it meant my David!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is gorgeously rendered, Kim! 💝 I love how you associate the memory of grandmother to the apples in these lines; “I watched it twirl and curl, with a whiff of sweetness, pinched between her fingers. She taught me a rhyme, that we said every time,”… the poem in its entirety is both elegant and so very moving. Thank you so much for sharing. 💝

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh what a bitter sweet poem you’ve written. Such a wonderful memory….and description of the connection between you, your grandmother and the apple. And then the sad but also beautiful ending. I can tell you had a very special relationship with her.
    (Seems the apple is a very popular fruit today!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We had a similar experience with my grandparents. My grandfather had a pocket knife with a buckhorn handle that he kept razor sharp. I could never peel one all the way; butter-fingered I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautifully rendered. I don’t think I ever saw someone peel an apple that way. But it does make me recall my first trip to Japan where all the locals peeled their oranges that way (as opposed the US method of tearing it into a dozen or more pieces).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ron! I thought peeling an apple in one go was a British thing but it seems people from around the world know it. I’ve never come across oranges peeled in that way – that’s some feat!


  7. I enjoyed your poem. My mother learned a similar “game” with apples, only it involves the stem not the peels. You twist the stem while going through the alphabet, and the letter you recite as the stem comes off is the initial, supposedly, of the one you will marry. I still play this apple game. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dwight. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. I’m eating my breakfast right now: banana, kiwi and grapes with yogurt and granola. Not an apple in sight this morning!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning, Sarah, and thank you! We were definitely in tune. When I was a child, there wasn’t as much choice of fruit as there is these days: apples, pears, bananas, grapes, and tangerines at Christmas. I’m just about to read and comment again after reading the final stave of a Pigeonhole book, Two Women in Rome by Elizabeth Buchan, which I enjoyed, As ever, I will feel bereft until the next one starts. I’m taking my Kindle to Ellen’s for bedtime reading.


  8. Oh, Kim. This is sweet and tender as a ripe apple. I love the cascade from the peeling to welcoming the core. The rhymes made my heart smile and your grandma’s rhyme is cheeky.

    These lines:
    there was the shape of an apple blossom inside
    like the ones blown away on the day she died.

    They are soft with acceptance but still almost moved me to tears.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Finessing apples is as old as Avalon and Eden — cutting and divination old too, descended to nursery rhyme. It’s a great metaphor for crafting poems and a sweet honor to your grandmother. – Brendan

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Best friends represent the purest form of friendships. Your best friend is someone who you might have met yesterday, yet you feel as though you have known him/her forever. And the beautiful thing about best friends is: They understand you in a way that no one else can. They are a blessing from heaven. 

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My grandfather taught us kids this one too. I cast for the initial then (just that once) and got an E. I went on to marry a Don and then a Bill (Willem) so I figured it was nonsense. Then my last and happiest marriage was to Andrew. By then I had no thought of apple peelings in mind anyway. But just now, reading your poem, it hits me that his first name, which in middle age he stopped using but had always been known by before, was Ewart!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.