Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Quote of the Day (Robert Frost, on an Unexpected Result of Apple-Picking)

“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.”—Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963), “After Apple-Picking,” in North of Boston (1915)
For this week, I was seeking a work that evoked this point in autumn. This poem does—just under the wire, as, I gather, the height of apple-picking season ends in mid-November.
In any case, it’s hard to beat the seemingly casual brilliance of this poem, from the almost tactile physical description (e.g., “every fleck of russet”) to the symbolic undertones (to indicate the condition of man, on three other lines, the use of the word “fall” or “fell”).
There are no literary allusions here, but you find yourself reading and re-reading these lines—and even at the end, not sure you’ve plunged all the way into the depth of its splendor.

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