Presumably woodchucks do not dream and do not desire great harvests. The speaker indicates that there are apples he has not harvested, and that some bushels are empty l. The speaker reflects on the last hours of the harvest, perhaps as he sits and drinks his home-made cider, or rests on his bed. The poem makes references to the end of the harvest, and the cold season would indicate that the days to pick apples are numbered. However, even though his achievements made him happy, he is now tired of them as well, and wants to see an end in sight. Its two terms head in a parallel and mutually supporting direction; ultimately, however, the relationship comes to an end or leaves off; the metaphor necessarily breaks down. The poem, After Apple-Picking, begins with the expression of the thoughts of the speaker, an apple-picker, after a day of apple-picking.
For all That struck the earth, No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, Went surely to the cider-apple heap 35 As of no worth. My instep arch not only keeps the ache, It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round. It melted, and I let it fall and break. Words are signs of natural facts. As he gives himself over to sleep, he wonders if it is the normal sleep of a tired man or the deep winter sleep of death. Imagery the rumbling, of load on load of apples coming in. Hence the peculiar rhyme scheme and lineation.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. One can generalize a statement of a pattern that develops as the matrix goes on. Significantly, Frost defines the curse still further: man will not cease to labor even in rest. As part of nature the woodchuck will automatically be renewed. Reprinted by permission of the author. And the speaker's oncoming dream is not of angels but, rather, of the details of apples and of labor.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. He knows that he will have disturbed sleep because of over tired-whether it be the normal sleep or the sleep of death. After Apple Picking can be interpreted in various ways. To tell them is to set their feet on the first rung of a ladder the top of which sticks through the sky. One of Frost's earlier works, After Apple-Picking classifies him as a quaint, New England poet. Stare at an object long enough and its impression is retained after the eyes are closed. Margaret Ferguson, Mary Jo Salter, Jon Stallworthy.
It simply follows the natural heartbeat of spoken English. Dualism is replaced by an almost religious sense of unity here; and the tone of irony, quizzical reserve, completely disappears in favour of wonder and incantation. Perhaps this is so the reader can feel less as though they are being talked at and more as though they are invited to join the scene of the poem. But I am done with apple-picking now. Death is nearing, but the narrator is not sure if the death will be transformed into spring in a few months or if everything will be buried under snow for all the eternity. The eyelids blink shut, and the speaker sees apples.
In moving between dream and objectivity, the ladder and the human laborer sway precariously on the verge of disintegration. Sleep comes seven lines after its partner, heap, and in the interim, sleep has popped up three times in the middle of lines. Labor, again, is both one of the unfortunate consequences of the Fall and a way of overcoming them, of transforming them into fortunate ones. From Robert Frost: The Work of Knowing. One can see what will trouble This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is. In terms of the metaphorical death of the earth in winter, and perhaps the death of the speaker, the references to the bible and the heavens contribute to the feeling that something or someone is nearing its end.
The sleep may be a simple sleep or the sleep of death. Such things reify the potent opacity of the word, which is invested with an entire history of meanings, incrementally awakened within the volatile substance of the poem. It is appropriate to the whole intention of the poem that where the apple-picker sets out wakefully to accomplish what he has all along been doing in a daze, unconsciously - to make metaphors and to generalize on his experience - the result is a tangle of confusions. What is the nature of the trouble? There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall. Sleep is, in fact, all over the poem; the word appears six times. Is the ladder showing him the way? Given Frost's larger poetic world, this meaning is the most likely.
The narrator is tired of doing the work that he used to love in the past. Since the word 'sleep' 10 has already occurred five times, it completes the rhyme and the poem with a special finality of sound and meaning. Brower There is no question here of tones playing against a traditional form; rather, an original rhythmic form grows out of the dramatic setting and the initial commitment in tone. The speaker has given here a picturesque description of the dreamland in which he finds himself in his tranced state. He can see every russet-colored spot reddish-brown fleck on the apples, thanks to the magnified appearance.
On a more positive note, another interpretation of this poem suggests that the narrator is a dying man, who is satisfied with all that he has achieved in his life, and though he wishes he could have done more, he is happy with whatever he has done. Since this is probably more than a simple night's sleep, it is likely that the dream is much like one experienced when awake, as when a person still feels the rocking of the boat even after he has set foot on firm land. This is the voice of an unassuming man, not the booming verse and rhyme of older poets or the upper class. He does not want anything to do with the apples. It seems as if the speaker were in a confused state of mind because of the onslaught of sleep on him that sent him into a trance in which everything seemed to have been blurred or made indistinct to view.
But although the voice seems to be lapsing into the rhyming fits of insomnia, the fits shape themselves into distinct and subtly varied patterns. 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. The narrator is almost living the dream, as it is so realistic. 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. Published in 1914 in Frost's book North of Boston, After Apple Picking quickly established itself as one of the most unusual of offerings from the poet, despite the seeming ordinariness of the setting - a farm orchard. Assuming that the dream embraces, the full range of sensations, the reader can observe a striking contrast between the visual and the other sensory elements.