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 dear.
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.
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.
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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem After Apple-Picking


  1. deepak thakur says:

    Why to find meanings in a poem? A poem is nothing more than a depiction of mood that poet experiences at one point of time.


    Apple picking symbolically means human aims and aspirations.Apple picking is just like harvesting.In the harvest season man gets the result of his seasonal activities.Similarly apple picking as a metaphor means the life long activities of man.The poet has used such a title to emphasize us that man strives for his aspiration but they remain unfulfilled to him till his last breath.
    The poet wants to tell us that every man in this mortal world has certain aims and aspirations.He lives by these aspirations.But as soon as death knocks at his door,all his efforts come to a halt and they fall just like the frost,which melts when sunlight falls on it.=

  3. Naresh Neupane says:

    The perfect chronology of life’s gloomy picture is brought in this poem.Let’s get simply-we ‘ve desire,dreams and goals that seem the hard sought motive of ours.And,we follow a course of actions to drive us through that.The adventurism that we face are treacherous ,painstaking and comes only through great risks,as we feel erstwhile.Not only are we stubborn to kick our actions but we deem our own truths ,realities shaped by experiences.We cling and thus unaware of what the real destination is,we are confused.Oue initial charm ,motivation wilts away.It mean no sooner the thing we attempted comes before us,we know the meaning as well as the vain we tried .This makes us laugh how meanest and petty it was.And,the big zero..the perishing away by death fears us,reminds of the fragile assetion and spirit.Thus goes the life meaningless,whatever we ‘ve, longings and passions to move with.

  4. Laura says:

    People that does not seek deeper meaning within literature lacks the very basic skill to even ask. Some people might think that others are reading too much into the poem, well maybe they are, but at least they have the ability to ask and convey a deeper meaning, instead of just take what the poem have to offer literally. Poets, like Robert Frost, are considered to be a famous because their work portrays themes and moral concepts which can be applied to the world, not because of simple “apple-picking.”

  5. Stephanie says:

    Damn, I’m going to write this up again. I pressed post comment but it’s gone and I don’t see it anywhere.
    So people who unfortunately missed my BITE into the apple poem, I’m going to reiterate my points.
    So in nutshell… crap I gotta go

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hi, I’m a daughter of farmer in South Korea. As you know from “Wikipedia”, Korea’s economy is primarily based on exporting apples. Apples used in Fruit-by-the-Foot are from Korea! Interesting, huh?
    That aside, I want to take a bite into this juicy poetry. MMMMMM yum~ 🙂 So, delicious, crimson apples in the poem represent the health of the humanity. We all know the saying, “a doctor a day, keeps apples away.” So in essence, the whole poetry is about conserving the economy over the well-being of doctors. 🙂 I hope this was insightful and helped out a lot of you. You guys were going quite a wrong direction.
    If you want more insight and wisdom from me, you can add me on Facebook at Stephanie Char- I look like a tadpole )))

  7. Hugh Jass says:

    The poem “After Apple Picking” is an expression of Robert Frost’s feelings toward the quickly passing season of apple picking. This poem revolves around his drowsy state while picking the apples were her ‘hallucinates’.

  8. Celticlace says:

    I feel that in this Poem Frost speaks simply of lifes choices (the two pronged ladder) . the wrong an right of life .. the choices we make.
    Its very clear to me, that as he approaches the end of his own life. He ponders his achievements ..and wonders as to what others may have accured or not if he had chosen another direction. ( There is a barrel I didnt fill and two or three apples I didnt pick ).

    He is exhausted from his musings ..knowing that he could ponder these thoughts endlessly. Knowing that the roads not traveled and choices not made are just as endless. (There are thousands thousands fruit to cherish in hand, touch, lift down an not let fall.)
    He suggests to us his readers ..that in life there are so many things to cherish .. touch, lift down and not let fall. but simply not enough time to do all. and so it is lost to us. In each passing day.
    (This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is . Long sleep, as I discribe its coming on , or Just some human sleep.)
    Simply put life ..each day. Know that your choices are what they are. Embrace the abundance of pleasure. and regret not the choices unmade. for all too soon. It is over.

  9. Christina Collins says:

    I have been studying Frost fro my final exams, and this poem I feel is misunderstood. The simple language, in this poem , expresses his tiredness and his exhaustion! from what? I have heard various interpetations of this poem, and it appears to me, that we are loooking, and analysising his poem, out of context. He is simply, in my opinion, weary from apple-picking:
    “For I am done with apple-picking now”
    He says without pretense, yet there are many opinions, that say his is considering giving up poetry! This, I have been told, is the silent ‘metaphor’ throughout the poem, that Frost’s poetry have often two meanings to the. Yet in this poem, I feel, there is not:
    ” OF apple picking, I am over-tired”
    “The Road Not Taken”, for example, is also another poem, that has a very direct message. We can relate to Frost, because we can emphathise with him, as we all must at some stage of our lives.
    This poem, is ripped to shreads, and metaphors are extracted from its content, where there are none. As we know, all evidence seems to indicate that this agrument is true, because where would we be now, if Frost had meant giving up on poetry?

  10. Anonymous says:

    it is about apple picking!!!

  11. Vithuran says:

    Poetry is art. Art looks like something at face value, but always has a deeper meaning. Taking into account the fact that Robert Frost was no imbecile, and the fact that his poems are known for their metaphorical approach, we can safely say that it is not merely about a farmer.

    The whole point of published poetry, in my opinion, is to be interpreted more than to express the poet’s opinions. Allow people to give their own personal interpretations. Do not dismiss people’s analytical input. I personally disagree with the interpretations which states the poem is chauvinistic. But I shall not dismiss it. Many believe that we read too much into this poem, but i disagree.

    I personally believe that this poem is about life. The two pointed ladder is life itself, and the persona has reached the top. Apples are the goals and achievements in life. I won’t go on echoing what many have said earlier. But i agree with them


  12. uma says:

    it is quite probable that we are reading too much into the poem’s meaning. Frost could have been describing the extreme exhaustion the harvestor was feeling after a more strenuous day of apple picking. Given his own personal experience with farming he is probably only talking about an extra hard day of backbreaking farming activity; sheer physical exhaustion causing him to feel dreamy and confused……….why look for something deeper and unexplainable?????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Robert Frost better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.