Poetry Corner: After Apple-Picking

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just read this one and, as it was more alluring than going through slides for my physiology lab, I decided I needed to post it immediately.
After Apple-Picking
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
-Robert Frost

I loved the rhythm of this poem. Read it aloud, the way the words fall are beautiful. I also loved the sensory detail. I could feel all those sensations: the lingering ache in the arch of the foot, even though the pressure of the ladder is gone, the scent of apples, the coldness as you skim the ice off the water outside (we had horses and sheep, so breaking the ice was a common occurrence in winter), and more than anything, being ready to drop into sleep, only to dream more of what you have been doing all day. Of course, I dreamed about o chem last night.

1 comment:

  1. I could spot a Frost poem anywhere, and absolutely loved this one! I've actually never read it before, despite studying the poet in college. Thanks for sharing it!

    Also, I would love to go apple picking someday... even though it would be grueling work, I'm sure, and not nearly as glamorous as I would imagine. I've been looking for orchards near me in Maryland, but no dice so far. My hunt will continue!

    P.S. Thanks for visiting me and for your kind words at my blog! :)


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