Archives for posts with tag: fruit trees

How to Eat an Avocado
by Michael Minassian

Cover yourself in green—
nestle it in your hand,
squeeze until it yields
to gentle pressure;
slice in half,
then scoop out the pit
as if you were
removing a broken heart.

When you taste the flesh,
let it linger on your tongue,
flowering like a grove
of epiphanies—
earth, rain and sun,
hunger and thirst,
like the first touch of lips
in a voluptuous embrace.

IMAGE: Avocado (Persea) (1916) by Amada Almira Newton. Original from U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel,


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Avocados have long been considered symbols of love and fertility. Used by Aztecs as an aphrodisiac, the fruit takes its name from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which means “testicle.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: When we lived in Florida we had a huge avocado tree in the backyard. I took the photo then (probably around 2014). The tree was fairly indestructible. When we bought that house there were seven papaya trees…all fell victim to hurricanes over a period of about 10 years.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Minassian’s poems and short stories have appeared recently in such journals Live Encounters, Lotus Eater, and Chiron Review. He is also a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist and photography: Around the Bend.  His poetry collections, Time is Not a River  and Morning Calm are available on Amazon. His poetry manuscript A Matter of Timing won the 2020 Poetry Society of Texas’ Manuscript Contest (publication: Summer 2021). Visit him at


On this Memorial Day morning, I woke up to the child next door practicing the “Ode to Joy” section of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on the piano, with a crow sitting in the lemon tree outside the building singing along with the music. As the junior pianist repeated passages over and over, ending in the middle and beginning again, I felt privileged that life was reminding me to recognize and appreciate joy.

So this post is my way of sharing a joyous moment — and wishing the same for all of you.

Beethoven based the “Ode to Joy” chorale on a poem written by Friedrich von Schiller in 1785. While much of the language is obscure by today’s standards, suffice it to say the verses address Joy as a goddess and cite her accomplishments and attributes. Here are some excerpts (English translation from German).

TO JOY (Excerpts)
by Friedrich von Schiller

Joy, beautiful sparkle of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, fire-drunk,
Heavenly one, your shrine.
Your magics bind again
What custom has strictly parted…

Joy is the name of the strong spring
In eternal nature.
Joy, joy drives the wheels
In the great clock of worlds.
She lures flowers from the buds,
Suns out of the firmament,
She rolls spheres in the spaces
That the seer’s telescope does not know.


Read the entire poem at

Listen to Leonard Bernstein conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in the “Ode to Joy” chorale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at — beautiful!

Illustration: “Crow in a Lemon Tree,” giclee archival art print by Lynnette Shelley. Find the print at Visit Lynnette Shelley‘s store and view more of her beautiful artwork — including whimsical, original depictions of animals.