After 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.                              End of sentence 1

Essence of winter sleep is on the night,

The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.                              End of sentence 2

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.                         End of sentence 3

It melted, and I let it fall and break.                                     End of sentence 4

But I was well

Upon my way to sleep before it fell,

And I could tell

What form my dreaming was about to take.                        End of sentence 5

Magnified apples appear and disappear,

Stem end and blossom end,

And every fleck of russet showing clear.                            End of sentence 6

My instep arch not only keeps the ache,

It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.                              End of sentence 7

I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.                          End of sentence 8

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin

The rumbling sound

Of load on load of apples coming in.                                  End of sentence 9

For I have had too much

Of apple-picking: I am overtired

Of the great harvest I myself desired.                                   End of sentence 10

There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,

Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.                         End of sentence 11

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.                                                                      End of sentence 12

One can see what will trouble

This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.                              End of sentence 13

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.                                                    End of sentence 14