William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

Apple Gathering


This morn brought tedious news express,
To master which in quietness,
As soon as might be I had clomb
To the room I sometimes call my home.
I may confess that pawns or kings
On the chessboard of church or court,
Bring me nor interest nor sport;
Another kind of value clings
About the daily sheet for me,
An interest of a vulgar sort.

But then that child we call the gnome
Knocked with both small fists and cried,
‘Theta is in the apple-tree,
We are gathering, come and see!’
I felt that I could not be spared,
And forthwith to the orchard fared,
And soon descried
Theta's skirts of dusky red
Amidst the boughs, against the sky:
Janet too, both mounted there
This annual festival to share.

The boughs with dark-brown leaves o'erspread,
And crimsoned fruit; the sky pure white,
With dense blue clefts that look so high,
Everything so sharp and bright,
Made up a picture chased outright
My tiresome news; besides, in joy,
The happy household voices too,
That touch the heart, a welcome threw
About me, and the rich dull sound
Of apples dropping on the ground
Brought out the laughter of the boy.
Great piled-up baskets stood about:
‘How shall we ever eat all these?’
They seemed to him quite infinite—
‘I too would pluck some if I might!’
He clapped his hands, ‘Oh let me, please!’
So I raised him over shoulder high,
The reddest, ripest, bunches nigh.
He caught them with a childish shout.
He was much merrier than was I
When I returned to read and write.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010
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