Robert Frost
After Apple-Picking (1914)


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.