Too much of 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.

- The Poet, After Apple Picking, 1914

Congratulations and thanks to Hamsters for all the work. – elwood (Nov 2006 – Nov 2012)

  • Jennifer Daler

    I will miss your voice, your uncompromising standards of intellectual honesty and your idealism. It was a pleasure sharing editing duties here with you.  

  • GreyMike

    That’s going to make me seem even crankier by comparison now.

    It’s been a real pleasure sharing web space with you all these years. I don’t know where the time goes.

    Your depth of knowledge and ability to cut through the baloney will be sorely missed.

    Jack Paar once said of Hugh Downs, “ask him what time it is and he will tell you how to make a watch”.

    You, sir, are just such a person.

    Hats off to you, and may you always find satisfaction in all you do.

    • peacekeeper
      • JonnyBBad

        I was told by my attorney,’when they ask you what time it is, tell them, but don’t build ‘em a watch.’

        • GreyMike

          Au contraire, when I say it, it IS a compliment.

          In the legal arena, the admonition in favor of brevity is well-founded (but seldom followed).

        • peacekeeper

          I am so blessed to have been raised by someone who would explain to me how and why things work rather than given a quick answer. Trust me, I’ve endured much longer explanations throughout my life than you all here, and I’m better for it.

          Stay classy.

        • JonnyBBad
  • NHFlatlander

    More from The Poet – 1923

    Keep cold, young orchard. Good-bye and keep cold.
    Dread fifty above more than fifty below.

  • Mike Hoefer

    Here is a link to my very first interaction with elwood which pre-dates Blue Hampshire.

    Scroll to the comments here… or take a look at this screen grab

    What a long strange trip its been!

    Elwood like other alumni will have “FP Emeritis” status allowing the occasional post front and center but will be stepping away from other aspects of community and site management.

  • pberch

    for all you have done for the progressive cause. You have been a mentor and teacher to many you have never met. Good fortune to you.  

  • Rep. Jim Splaine

    …they just brighten up when there’s another election or new cause to win.

    The next election is only 103 weeks away, and we know the pendulum of politics sways, and it will be an “off-year election.”

    And new causes begin today.  

    “Retirement” isn’t a word activists believe in.

  • Douglas E. Lindner
  • Dean Barker

    I learned more from your words than you will ever know.

  • susanthe

    You’ve been both a teacher and a thoroughly delightful comrade-in-keyboards.  

  • susaninrindge
  • Kathy Sullivan 2

    But please keep posting, or this site will become even more quiet.  

  • JimC

    Thanks for invaluable contributions over the years. I came on here today to see what you had to say about something. Cheers.

  • pberch

    ..and bought a copy of the collected works of The Poet. And was reading from it at about 2 AM…

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