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  • Lori Forrest

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 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. 


(Poem Public Domain)

(Photo: Charles Curran with Apples from the Orchard)

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