© 2018 Jo Page

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After Apple-picking, After Frost

October 2, 2012


With Frost, it’s all about frost. He’s got

a crop to harvest. That’s what it seems like.

I don’t mind that he’s a curmudgeon. I heard

he was a bad father. Who knows what kind of husband?

I only know him as a poet, a swinger of birches—used to be, anyway.

I know him as somebody who outwalked the furthest city lights,

as one acquainted with the night. And so on.

He didn’t know if the world would end in fire.

Or in ice. And once by the pacific (should I say

“Once by the Pacific” since that is what he said?)

he intoned the glum evangelist’s ire:

“It looked as if a night of dark intent

Was coming, and not only a night, an age.

Someone had better be prepared for rage.”


Why not? I’ve loved his Ingmar-American-Bergman nod—

(“Word was I was in my life alone/Word was I had no one left but God.”)

Cold comfort there, despite the moth-bit, hand-knit sweaters.

He’s spot on; we die—by fire or ice, what does it matter?

And in “After Apple-picking” he’s tired, a pane of glass

From the drinking trough that’s just ice just shatters.

It’s no mirror, no clue whether he will sleep for good

or just sleep somehow. But he says, without doubt,

“I’m done for apple-picking now.”


But I have been picking of late from this delicate harvest,

A tall daughter beside me, reaching beyond me.  

Our fingers sticky, our sacks heavy, our feet in the mud

No foreboding or theology in our late summer plunder.

No Frost to chide me, tramping through trees—

Ambrosia and Empire, Winesap and Spies—all the names runes

for Eden’s lost promise.

Unless Frost and God were both a bit wrong—

and what a wonder, what resurrection—

if there were still summer in fall. 



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I'm a writer, yoga teacher, Lutheran pastor, and music nerd living in New York. I find a feast in daily living - most days, anyway - and write about it here. 

Finalist for the 2017 Chautauqua Prize!
The frank and funny story of a church-geek girl who spent twenty years in the ecclesiastical trenches as a Lutheran pastor, preaching weekly words of hope she wasn’t sure she even believed.