Theme and Message

Poetry as food for the mind

The poem “How To Eat a Poem” by Eve Merriam deals with the theme of poetry as food for the mind. The entire poem is a metaphor that associates the act of reading poetry with the act of eating fruit. Therefore, just like the fruit feeds the body, the poem can feed the reader’s mind. 

The poem suggests that poetry is always ready to be enjoyed and that the process depends only on the willingness of the reader: “It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are” (l. 5). Therefore, the poem is an invitation for young readers to nourish their minds with the help of poetry. Children are encouraged to be bold and approach poetry naturally, as the “juice” (ll. 3-4) will feed their minds and leave no waste behind. 

The poem’s extended metaphor of...

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