Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Apples - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

The old apple-tree at the top of the orchard
Lies flat
On its back . . .
It's been like that
Since it came down smack
In a big blow
Four or five years ago.

It lies there
With half its roots in the air;
It's full of American blight, and canker, and weevils,
And all the rest of evils
That afflict apple-trees . . .
It's all elbows and knees,
Like an old man with the screws . . .
And yet, to be perfectly fair
To the old apple-tree that lies flat
At the top of the orchard with its roots in the air,
It does produce
Apples . . .

Nothing at all out of the way,
Just apples . . . Nobody's ever bothered to prune it, or lime it, or spray
It with DDT or XYZ or ABC . . .
In short, it's just an old apple-tree
Somebody's great-grandfather planted
Lord knows when -
Might be fourscore and ten,
Might be more years ago . . .
And wiseacres look at it and say
'You should do away
With that old thing,
It's no good
For anything but firewood . . .'
And you say 'Yes, I suppose I should -
Perhaps next year' . . . And then
The spring comes again,
And it's still there
With its roots in the air,
And there's a blossom on the old thing,
And the birds come and sing
And build nests in it just where they built them before,
And you say 'May as well let it go a year or more' . . .
So the old apple-tree at the top of the orchard
Goes on lying on its back doing just what it chooses
And produces
Apples . . .

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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