The poem takes place at the end of the harvest, with the last fruit hanging on the tree and winter coming on. The harvest symbolizes growth and creativity, but this burst of life has ended and now both the earth and its many of its creatures are preparing to enter a period of hibernation.
- Lines 18-20: The dream presents the apples in fine detail. Even the small flecks of brownish-red are visible on the surface. He has been watching apples "appear and disappear" all day.
- Line 30: "Ten thousand thousand" apples would be ten million! We doubt he actually counted all the apples picked. Instead, he is exaggerating. The technical term for this device is hyperbole.
- Line 36: He uses a subtle simile to describe how the fallen apples are treated. They are not really worthless, because the apple cider still has some value. But the speaker's point is that, compared to the non-corrupted apples, they might as well be worthless.