9/12/11

After Apple Picking


Image: InnAtClearwaterPond

It's the season for apple-picking, a treat New Englanders might take for granted. Apple picking comes at summer's end, as fall begins and nature prepares for her great winter sleep.

Children of all ages love to pick, collect and take home the apples for baking and cooking and just plain good eating. Of course, there are shadows of meaning in this season that the truly young might miss as the days grow shorter.

Robert Frost, poet laureate of New England, wrote of the mysteries of this season. His words follow below and you can listen to Frost reading this poem here.

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, let 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



 

   
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2 comments:

Lady.Rosary said...

Robert Frost is really a gifted story-teller and poet. Even with a simple idea, he can turn it into a very entertaining written work.

Philomena Ewing said...

What a beautiful anthem for the second half of life.

I love this part especially:
"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's as if the glass is a prism that asks us to come to terms with the way we view life as we get older :through a tragedy or a comedy prism, or a balance of both prisms. :-)

In the second half of life we are asked to discard our old containers and contexts of seeing and make way for something new. We need new eyes to see !

Thanks for this little gem.
Blessings