Blue-Violet Iris Interior

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Autumn on the Wane

Most of the leaves have fallen, the nights grow ever longer and colder, and I have a hankering for poetry of an autumnal nature. Robert Frost's "After Apple-Picking" is one of my favorites.

     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.

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