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WATERMELONS, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Watermelons" is a poem by Charles Simic, a Serbian-American poet known for his surrealistic style and use of imagery. The poem presents a vivid image of watermelons on a fruit stand, and explores themes of pleasure and transience. The poem was first published in Simic's collection "The Book of Gods and Devils" in 1989.


The poem begins with the image of "green Buddhas" on a fruit stand, referring to the watermelons. The comparison to Buddhas may suggest a sense of reverence or spirituality associated with the fruit. However, the poem quickly turns to the act of consumption, as the speaker describes how "We eat the smile / And spit out the teeth." This line suggests that the sweetness of the watermelon is enjoyed, but the harder, inedible parts are discarded.

The imagery in the poem is striking and evocative, with the watermelons depicted as both beautiful and disposable. The comparison to Buddhas may also suggest a sense of impermanence and the transience of life, as even something as seemingly enduring as a religious icon can be consumed and discarded.

Poetic Elements:

  • Imagery: The poem is full of vivid and striking imagery, particularly in the comparison of the watermelons to green Buddhas.
  • Metaphor: The comparison of the watermelons to Buddhas is a metaphor that suggests reverence and spirituality, as well as impermanence and transience.
  • Symbolism: The watermelons can be seen as a symbol for pleasure and enjoyment, but also for the fleeting nature of such experiences.
  • Tone: The poem has a sense of detachment and observation, with the speaker simply describing what they see without judgment or emotion.
  • Structure: The poem is short and consists of only two lines, which contributes to its impact and memorability.


Overall, "Watermelons" is a brief but powerful poem that explores themes of pleasure, transience, and impermanence through the vivid and striking imagery of watermelons. The comparison to Buddhas suggests a sense of reverence and spirituality, but the act of consumption and discarding reveals the impermanence of even seemingly enduring things. The poem's brevity and simplicity contribute to its impact, making it a memorable and thought-provoking piece of poetry.

Poem Snippet:

Green Buddhas

On the fruit stand.

We eat the smile

And spit out the teeth.

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