In the Street of Fruit Stalls Poem Explanation

In the Street of Fruit Stalls Explanation


Wicks balance flame, a dark dew falls

In the street of fruit stalls’ Melon, guava, mandarin,

Pyramid-piled like cannon balls,

Glow red-hot, gold-hot from within



These verses have been taken from the poem “In the Street of Fruit Stalls” By Jan Stallworthy.




In this Poem, the Jan Stallworthy has reflected dark and harsh reality of life through death and destruction caused by war, poverty and miseries of life. But all these sufferings have failed to crush man‟s love for pleasure. He still searches for delight in the short sweetness of life just like the children, who enjoy the sweet spray of juice forgetting all about the misery of life they live in. These children are too innocent to comprehend the dark and harsh reality of life. Explanation: In this first stanza, the poet has used the dark imagery “dark dew falls”. He has portrayed evening time with dark and grim future inflicted by war in the street of fruit stalls, where various fruits are piled up in a conical form like pyramid. The imagery of fruits is symbolizing both pleasure and misery. Pleasure in the sense that they are in variety, having sweet taste and colour yet at the same time symbolizing the cannon balls likely to be used in war. They reflect hot, red and golden colours, which in dim light appear like bombs. The whole world is engulfed in the darkness of war, misery and poverty. The same darkness is found in the fruit street. War and its horrors have shattered the human psychology to such an extent that different kinds of fruits look like bombs. In the dim light of lanterns they glow red hot or appear gold hot.



Dark Children with a coin to spend

Enter the lantern’s orbit; find

Melon, guava, mandarin

The moon compacted to a rind

The sun in a pitted skin



Explanation :


Here in this stanza, the poet has used the word “ Dark Children”, which reflect that the poor children with innocent hopes and dark future find pleasure in these fruits like melon, guava and other fruits. They innocently hold a coin standing in the light lanterns. For them this is the only hope and pleasure of life to buy and enjoy the taste of various fruits. Dark children symbolize insignificant of human life in the eyes of those who wage war and bring about misery to fellow humans. The situation is so grim that the moon and the sun have failed to perform their normal functions as a result of which darkness and gloom have enveloped the world. In spite of all this man‟s love for pleasure is still an integral part of his nature. The children are oblivious of their miserable living conditions. They buy different fruits and eat with relish. The juices wet all parts of their faces. The condition of the poet is, however, different. He feels sad at the present situation and has serious concern about the future. They take it, break it open, let A gold or silver fountain wet Mouth, fingers, cheek, nose, chin: Radiant as lanterns, they forget The dark street I am standing in. Explanation: They buy the fruit and break it open they tasty juice runs down their cheeks lips and stick to their hands. For them the pleasure is cheap and they are unaware of the war going on, harsh realities of life and grim future, where man is man‟s enemy and which is also disturbing the poet.

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