The Poem

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

In “Sunday at the Apple Market” Peter Meinke uses free verse to portray the gaiety and freedom associated with a Sunday afternoon visit to an orchard to stock up on apples. The seventeen-line poem depends on images to suggest all the sensory pleasures of such a visit.

Meinke uses punctuation and capitalization sparsely, yet the reader can readily see separate introductory, middle, and concluding sections. The first two lines that introduce the subject indicate the open form of the poem. The opening “Apple-smell everywhere!” contrasts with the slower pace of the second line: “Haralson McIntosh Fireside Rome.” This opening gives the reader entrance to the general atmosphere of the orchard market, one focused on the olfactory sense. The middle of the poem—lines 3-15—presents seven snapshots describing the orchard market scene: a shed with cider presses, ladders leaning against the now fruitless apple trees, apples of several colors stacked high in a barn, people gathered around a “testing table,” “dogs barking at children,” doting couples, and people loading their cars with the apples. The last two and a half lines provide the conclusion. They begin with a reiteration of the prevalent apple smell but then leave all sensory diction to provide commentary: “making us for one Sunday afternoon free/ and happy as people must have been meant to be.”