Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
- He states, in the most direct terms yet, that he is sick of picking apples. Talk about a guy who brings his work home with him!
- The poem slips into rhyme for just a couplet, with the pairing of "overtired" and "desired." This could be the moral of the poem, except it occurs in the middle. Also, it's not very profound: we had already guessed that this was his attitude.
- The speaker used to be really excited for the harvest, but now he's had too much of a good thing.
- The first word of line 27 is "for," as if Frost were explaining why he has just imagined the harvest so vividly. But there's no logical connection between being sick of picking apples and thinking about apples. You'd imagine that he wouldn't keep thinking about them…
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
- The speaker elaborates on why he has grown tired of the harvest.
- As with any activity that involves picking from plants, the process grows really old really fast. It's very monotonous – pick and drop, pick and drop.
- And there are so many apples in the orchard – "ten thousand thousand," to be exact. That's an exaggeration, to the tune of ten million apples! But we get the point.
- An important image returns: falling. The speaker had to worry about not letting the apples drop. Even if the apples were in perfect condition otherwise, without "bruises" or "stubble," they would be considered worthless if they touched the ground. They would have to be thrown in the heap of apples that will just be used to make cider.
- The image of falling first came up in relation to dropping the ice on the ground. These lines help explain the speaker's earlier concern with dropping stuff.
- Ew, cider. Wait, cider is awesome! What's wrong with cider? Evidently, the apples that make cider are the worst of the harvest.
- All this hubbub about falling and fruit should make you think of the Biblical story of the Fall of Adam and Eve, and their forbidden fruit.
- This poem is full of Biblical imagery. The apples are a symbol of things that can be corrupted through contact with earth. The speaker almost feels bad for them.