japonisme: apple picking

08 May 2008

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.

Robert Frost

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Blogger harlequinpan said...

So touching!! i especially love the work of Edvard Munch.

10 May, 2008 02:07  
Blogger Roxana said...

how wonderful and fresh! but it's not yet summer over there, isn't it? :-) I remember I had this homework once in the drawing class back in secondary school, "in the apple orchard"...

11 May, 2008 11:31  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

yes! i find that poem surprisingly touching. it seems like munch's broader scope of work is getting out there.

and now i realize that i forgot his name on the tags, so thanks!

11 May, 2008 14:08  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

you had to illustrate this poem? how coincidental!

the weather here is roughly like the weather in lisbon, as i understand it

11 May, 2008 14:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love robert frost .... to me this is a touching metaphor of life: a life lived - where we tend to keep our days full of 'picking apples' - yet others falling (those we cannot catch or keep - shades of A Road Not Taken?

and now our winters, insteps aching, sleep and dreaming begin to cloud our vision. and we begin to wonder just what form our sleep will take ....?

lovely illustrations, as usual dear lotus.

lady blue

12 May, 2008 06:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know i left a lengthy comment here yesterday ..... but as my day was going - who knows if i pressed post it or not ???

mostly, i was struck by the poem by Robert Frost. Because to me I read it as much as a timeline of life: those fresh days of youth, picking apples - not caring about the ones that are left behind on the ground ...

and now, a man, reflecting on his days of youth - talking about the woes of his age: aching insteps, overtired,more fruit to touch than one could possibly hold....

and finally the long sleep compared to 'just some human sleep.'

lovely illustrations, along the way, dear lotus.

lady blue

13 May, 2008 04:03  
Blogger VassarGirl said...

30 years ago I picked apples with Jamaican migrant workers in Connecticut, and orchards are a wonder of man and nature.
Lotusgreen, do you know anything about an eccentric retreat called Yama No Uchi in the Catskills of New York? Gatehouse, tea house and stables built in Japonisme, resembling castle stuctures. Built 1906, now in ruin, although stone constuction and some beams survive...

13 May, 2008 14:50  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

sorry to be so late with this, folks, but my spacebar wasn't working....

as usual, blue, you have enriched my reading of this poem. thank you.

welcome v-girl. no--that's new to me. do you know more? i've heard of byrdcliff, though. weren't there a lot of intentional communities in them there hills at that time?

14 May, 2008 15:17  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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