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. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples; I am drowsing off. I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight I got from looking through a pane of glass I skimmed this morning from the water-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 reappear, 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. And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin That 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.