|After Apple Picking, 8"x10", ink & pastel on 138 lb Canson|
For the Apple A Day art challenge I'm participating in, I decided to start off a little heavy by creating a handwritten calligram using the words from one of my favorite poems,
"After Apple Picking"
By Robert Frost
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.I chose to depict the apple core to represent the theme of hunger and endings.
"...Of the great harvest I myself desired."
The ladder, apples, and sleep can be metaphor for many things and an analysis post is a whole other ballgame. Personally speaking, here are just a few applications that ring particularly clear presently-
- Accumulation of knowledge and climbing toward truth. "My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a treeToward heaven still,"
- Chasing ambitions and saving material wealth throughout life. "There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall."
- Our perception of reality and its toll on our life/work balance. "What form my dreaming was about to take.Magnified apples appear and disappear,..."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."
- Simple sensual autumn nostalgia. The interpretations are wide and deep on this work, but the beauty and
simplicity of Frost's words can be appreciated at face value. As an autumn baby raised in the Midwest, the sights and smells of fall are rooted in my core and illicit a deeply emotional response. This point brings me back to the crux of autumn and its universal implications; "But I am done with apple-picking now.Essence of winter sleep is on the night,The scent of apples: I am drowsing off."Death is the ultimate sleep. We can't be sure what will come of our harvest, but the apple picking will end. Do we worry about filling baskets? What goes in the cider bin? I can only try to work hard yet enjoy the task and hope the apples I have picked feed those I leave behind.Happy picking,D. Renée
Click here to bid on "After Apple Picking" in the Daily Paintworks auction.
And join me during the challenge for a chance to win an original from this series.