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After Apple Picking
Throwing all sexual connotations aside, "After Apple Picking" is about a dying man who is pondering the accomplishments in his life, and contemplating on the opportunities that he has let pass by. As our narrator drowses off into his final sleep, he is tired of having had so many options, but still he knows that his mind will have time to think and wonder if he should regret.
As the poem starts, he is standing on his long ladder pointed towards heaven, and looking down on the apples that he didn't pick. But, he shows no sign of regret, for he admits that he is "done with apple-picking now." Though he seems quite confident in this declaration, the reader questions his sincerity as he looks down at the barrel he didn't fill. For this is his last waking hour, and questions are sure to come while "the essence of winter sleep is on the night."
Our narrator goes on to talk about his strange view of the "hoary grass" through a small sheet of ice. As he is looking through this piece of "glass", it begins to melt, thus symbolizing how his view of the world is about to end. Although completely aware of his waning time, he is comforted by knowing "What form [his] dreaming was about to take.
With a somewhat optimistic outlook, he is confident of the positive nature of his thoughts in the afterlife. He supposes that his "dreams" shall be of his many accomplishments; a "stem" to "blossom" overview of his life's works. The narrator also figures that his dreams will show him how he was sturdy, swaying little, when boughs of the trees were bending in the wind. He will see himself as strong under the heat of a barrage of apples come rolling in.
After admitting that he has had too much of apple-picking, he seems ready to watch the "Highlights" in his dreaming. While thinking of how successful he has been in his "apple-picking", he begins to wonder of the fruitful opportunities that he has let slip through his hands and fall through to the ground.
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"After Apple Picking." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Nov 2019
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Finally enlightened to the truth of his choices, he is truly concerned of "what trouble" his sleep may bring him. He now looks at his sleep with a more preoccupied face. He wonders if in fact he has always chosen the right path, and if he has really taken advantage of all of his opportunities.