"While yet unfallen apples throng the bough,
To ripen as they cling
In lieu of the lost bloom, I ponder how
Myself did flower in so rough a spring,
And was not set in grace
When the first flush was gone from summer's face;
How in my tardy season, making one
Of a crude congregation, sour in sin,
I nodded like a green-clad mandarin,
Averse from all that savoured of the sun.
But now, throughout these last autumnal weeks
What skyey gales mine arrogant station thresh,
What sunbeams mellow my beshadowed cheeks,
What steely storms cudgel mine obdurate flesh;
Less loth am I to see my fellows launch
Forth from my side into the air's abyss,
Whose own stalk is
Grown untenacious of its wonted branch.
And yet, O God,
Tumble me not at last upon the sod,
Or, still superb above my fallen kind,
Grant not my golden rind
To the black starlings screaming in the mist.
Nay, rather on some gentle day and bland
Give Thou Thyself my stalk a little twist,
Dear Lord, and I shall fall into Thy hand."
An Afterthought on Apples Helen Parry Eden
(from Coal and Candlelight)