Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday's Poetry: "After Apple-Picking"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

It's November again - already.  Time for elections, Thanksgiving dinners and parades, and the last of the summer harvests.  We had our first frost this past week, an event that always makes me think of gathering in the fruits of summer and storing them for the long winter hiatus, the time when the earth lies cold and dormant peacefully awaiting the resurgence of life in the spring.

My harvests, such as they were, are over.  Yesterday as I mowed the leaves in the front yard, I snapped a few small tomatoes off of the dying plant and enjoyed those as I pushed the mower through the brown and yellow leaves.  What the frost has not yet killed, it soon will.

In today's poem, "After Apple-Picking" by Robert Frost, the farmer uses his skills as a poet to relate the apple harvest and his personal need for a long sleep.  Mr. Frost describes the apples by their appearance, touch, smell, sound, and taste.  He even shares what it feels like to stand long hours on a ladder.  He is a man consumed by the work he has just performed - in every sense of the word.

Pick your apples and then rest.  That's the way of work - and of life.

After Apple-Picking
by Robert Frost

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 and blossom end.
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache.
It keeps the pressure of the 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 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 not he gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

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