(I'll be your "commenting editor". The small type is the poem. The larger type is what it might mean. The blue type is just some comments. Don't forget, this is just MY interpretation. Who KNOWS what Robert Frost was thinking when he wrote this!
       Make believe the speaker is an old, old man. Pretend he is my Dad. Make believe he is 85 years old, handicapped, no longer can work, or even WALK very well. Make believe he made these comments before he died.)

After Apple-Picking
by Robert Frost - 1914

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,

The "Stairway to Heaven" has always been there waiting for me. I've seen it since I was young, I've followed it, and I have ALWAYS had faith in it.

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.

Oh yes, there are some things left "undone", some things I wished I had done but never got around to. Nothing major though; I guess I just ran out of time. Some things I might still do, if I get around to it. Life is like a loaf of "tuits"; every time you cut off a slice, you get a "round tuit".

But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,

All in all, it's been a good life, and the final "winter" is coming soon.

The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight

I have only MEMORIES remaining, and even THOSE are not always so clear. Sometimes they are vivid, and sometimes the edges are blurred.

I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough

      (This is a GREAT literal image to identify with! What child HASN'T picked up the season's first thin sheet of ice and looked through it??)

And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.

And nothing looks or seems the way it used to look, and I don't have the energy or the ambition, or even the DESIRE to try to figure it all out. I can't even figure out how to work a VCR!! Or why, for that matter, I even NEED one!!

But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,

I'm too TIRED, I can't even read a book without falling asleep!

And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.

And as I snooze, the memories of my life come flooding back - even things that I didn't remember that I had forgotton!!

Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing dear.

       (Another image to identify with: Did you ever spend a day doing a repetitive chore such as trimming shrubs or pulling weeds, so that when you were done, every time you closed your eyes, you can SEE the branches or the weeds??!!)

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.

I can still feel the aches and pains I felt while spending my life working at making a living. Trouble is, I feel them NOW as I am sitting still!!

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.

And the world goes on around me, and the world went on before I came along and the world will go on just as well WITHOUT me. I will miss it. I wonder if it will miss ME??

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,

Remember the loaf of "tuits"? The day has come when I have reached the "heel" of the loaf. Yes... There is an "end tuit"! I can do no more... I have done everything I needed to do, and most of what I WANTED to do, and yet......

Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.

Could I have done more??? Is there anything MORE I could have done that would have made MORE of a difference?? Or worse yet, is there anything I could have done DIFFERENTLY that would have affected this final course.

One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.

Is there anything I have FAILED to do?? And will I soon regret it??

Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his

The woodchuck lives in constant fear for his own survival; he doesn't even KNOW that he will wake up in the spring... The child sometimes fears that he might not wake up tomorrow....

Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

I look forward to, and LONG for, the sleep. What I FEAR is that I WILL wake up!

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