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.
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.
About Robert Frost
Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874. Following the death of his father when Frost was 11, his family moved to Massachusetts. He began writing poetry in high school and went on to study at Dartmouth and Harvard though he did not finish college at either. His first published poem, My Butterfly, appeared in New York’s The Independent in 1894.
Frost worked as a teacher, cobbler, newspaper editor and farmer, ultimately selling his unsuccessful farm and moving to England in 1912 where he published his first collection. He returned to the U.S. in 1915 and by the 1920s had published several collections and had become one of the most popular poets in the country. Deeply rooted in place, his poems often embodied rural New England. He would ultimately win four Pulitzer prizes for his poetry. His best known poems include The Road Not Taken, Mending Wall, and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
He went on to serve as a college professor at various institutions and later was called upon to recite a poem at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. Robert Frost died in 1963.