What does the poem, "After Apple-Picking" mean? Does it have a deeper meaning?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On the surface, this poem is about a man's weariness after having picked the apples in his orchard. He has picked so many apples ("thousand thousand") that he dreams about them. He foot still aches from standing on the ladder, and like a song that's stuck in his head, he can hear in his mind the "rumbling sound/ Of load on load of apples coming in."

The deeper meaning of this poem depends on what feelings and images it evokes in you. For me at my age, it is about aging, and I sense a melancholy tone. The winter imagery (the "pane of glass," or large piece of ice, "skimmed" from the "drinking trough"; the "winter sleep"; the woodchuck's long sleep--all of these images suggest to me that the speaker is in the winter of his life and that maybe that long sleep is death.

The Masterplots commentary on the poem also notes that whatever deeper meaning may exist in Frost's poetry is left up to the reader to discover:

[Frost] does not provide or even suggest an answer to the questions he raises, preferring to leave the reader to find the way to his or her own answers. The poem finally leaves the impression that the sensory enjoyment of the endeavor provides its true justification, but that the larger issues it implies are beyond human understanding.

Put yourself in the speaker's place. How do you think he feels? What do you think he means? Your interpretation is just as valid as anyone else's.