After Apple Picking

Original Text: 
Robert Frost, North of Boston, 2nd edn. (New York: Henry Holt, 1915), pp. 73-75. PS 3511 R94N6 ROBA.
1My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
2Toward heaven still,
3And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
4Beside it, and there may be two or three
5Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
6But I am done with apple-picking now.
7Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
8The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
9I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
10I got from looking through a pane of glass
11I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
12And held against the world of hoary grass.
13It melted, and I let it fall and break.
14But I was well
15Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
16And I could tell
17What form my dreaming was about to take.
18Magnified apples appear and disappear,
19Stem end and blossom end,
20And every fleck of russet showing clear.
21My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
22It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
23I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
24And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
25The rumbling sound
26Of load on load of apples coming in.
27For I have had too much
28Of apple-picking: I am overtired
29Of the great harvest I myself desired.
30There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
31Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
32For all
33That struck the earth,
34No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
35Went surely to the cider-apple heap
36As of no worth.
37One can see what will trouble
38This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
39Were he not gone,
41Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
42Or just some human sleep.


40] woodchuck: groundhog, a North American burrowing rodent that hibernates in the winter and--according to folklore--emerges from its burrow on February 2 ("Groundhog Day") and, if it sees its shadow, forbodes six more weeks of winter. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.