apples, cathryn essinger, Dorianne Laux, dVerse poetics, Robert Frost, too-qua-stee, William Blake
And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart,
“Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
Hey, poets! How are you all doing? We are in the grips of the summer already over here, and it is going to be a long season.
Today, we will be reading some interesting and thought-provoking poems with apples as a thematic or a metaphorical element and see how the golden fruit comes across in the written word. Let’s begin with one of the most popular apple poems and it is of course 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.
After Frost’s dreamy verse (Aside: His birth anniversary is on March 5), let’s see how the forbidden fruit has been viewed over time through this poem by Dorianne Laux:
Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.
Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.
Eve’s knees ground in the dirt
of paradise. Newton watching
gravity happen. The history
of apples in each starry core,
every papery chamber’s bright
bitter seed. Woody stem
an infant tree. William Tell
and his lucky arrow. Orchards
of the Fertile Crescent. Bushels.
Fire blight. Scab and powdery mildew.
Cedar apple rust. The apple endures.
Born of the wild rose, of crab ancestors.
The first pip raised in Kazakhstan.
Snow White with poison on her lips.
The buried blades of Halloween.
Budding and grafting. John Chapman
in his tin pot hat. Oh Westward
Expansion. Apple pie. American
as. Hard cider. Winter banana.
Melt-in-the-mouth made sweet
by hives of Britain’s honeybees:
white man’s flies. O eat. O eat.
And here’s a beautiful metaphor-infused poem on memory by Cathryn Essinger:
I planted an apple tree in memory
of my mother, who is not gone,
but whose memory has become
so transparent that she remembers
slicing apples with her grandmother
(yellow apples; blue bowl) better than
the fruit that I hand her today. Still,
she polishes the surface with her thumb,
holds it to the light and says with no
hesitation, Oh, Yellow Transparent . . .
they’re so fragile, you can almost see
to the core. She no longer remembers how
to roll the crust, sweeten the sauce, but
her desire is clear—it is pie that she wants.
And so, I slice as close as I dare to the core—
to that little cathedral to memory—where
the seeds remember everything they need
to know to become yellow and transparent.
Also, read A Poison Tree by William Blake and Dignity by Too-qua-stee.
This is Anmol (alias HA) and I welcome you all to dVerse Poetics, where we all write a poem on a particular theme. Today, I am asking you to think of the modest apple and wonder over its histories and mythologies or think of the many metaphors that you can arrive at while biting into its tight skin and soft flesh and inculcate some of that in your writing. Once you have posted your poem, add it to the linking widget below. Don’t forget to visit others who link and share your words/comments on their poems. I look forward to reading your written word. Happy Writing and Reading!
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Hello… on a day like this there has to be cider in the bar… 🙂
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Hello all! I’m afraid I’m still feeling under the weather and I want to be fit and well for next week, when I visit my daughter and grandson, who will be two years old on Friday.. That means I will be off to bed early and will be back in the morning to read and comment.
Hoping you feel better soon, Kim!
Thank you, Jade. I’m just off to bed.
anmol(alias HA) said:
Hey, Kim! Hope you are feeling better now.
How lovely that the little one is turning 2! I wish you a great week ahead. 🙂
Thank you so much, Anmol. I haven’t seen them since Christmas, except for Facebook video messaging. He’s developing so quickly, and is as bright as a button. 😊
Frank Hubeny said:
I remember picking apples, pruning apple trees and making cider in Maine long ago. Nice prompt using apples.
Hello Anmol and All. Apples flourish in this neck of the woods. I enjoyed Frost’s and Blake’s poems as well as Alice Cooper’s fine apple ditty. Bjorn, I hope so on the cider. One Magners Please!
lol good one, the forbidden fruit was my trigger …
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How about an apple brandy, then.
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hey Anmol, nice prompt. i especially like the Kahlil Gibran quote. I wrote one, and posted it. but im having trouble with mr linky. he’s telling me my link must begin with 'http://' which of course it does…
anmol(alias HA) said:
Hey, I don’t know why it didn’t work for you. I have added the link on your behalf. Let me know if there is still an issue. 🙂
Thank you. looks good!
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Yvonne Osborne said:
Thank you for posting this! I was fortunate to take a poetry class and writing practicum with Cathryn Essinger. She is amazing as is her beautiful poem.
Thank you Anmol a fruitful process 🙂 loved working with this.
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Shaun Jex said:
Thank you for the prompt. It was interesting exploring this subject.
I’m usually late to the party…are we still bobbin’ for apples? My brain always needs time to percolate. Thanks for hosting, Anmol 🙂
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