Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Old Apple Tree

A young apple tree

Stretching bare arms toward heaven in supplication
For the gift of youth recalled,
The strength for one more summer’s crop,

We know your time has come.

Still I granted you life,
Reprieve from saw and axe,
for one more season.

And the fruit weighing down your tired old branches
being fit for the birds only,
I patiently collect,
Before the creatures of the soil
can claim it for their own.

Thrush and blackbird drunk on rotting fruit,
sing in gratitude,
and  my heart rejoices

U. S-W.
alias Friko


  1. This photo is not of the old apple tree, but of a young one.

  2. Well, I have a particular fondness for old apple trees, so this is just up my street.

    Our son-in-law and I, hard-pruned his old apple tree a couple of years ago. It's loaded this year.

  3. ein sehr schönes und auch sehr trauriges Gedicht. Bäume liebe ich wie den wolkenreichen Himmel, sie sind für mich lebendig und fällt man sie, bricht mir das Herz...
    Wirklich, ein grossartiges Poem!

  4. It's amazing how those old apple trees hang on and continue to bear fruit. May we all do as well.

  5. I must say, I used to enjoy looking after the apple trees in the days when we had a garden large enough for them! I used to prune with secateurs in one hand and a gardening book full of instructions 'how to' in the other! The ensuing crop would feel like my babies...

  6. I've never grown an apple tree, but the valley near my mountain produces some wonderful fruit. I love to collect some of the pruned branches for smoke in the bar-b-que. Yum.

    and I like thinking of those birds out on a little bender, enjoying the rotting fruit.
    thanks, Friko

  7. The story of the whole season the tree has lived through since the blossoms of spring is there to relive as you taste a real garden apple. In a perfect-looking supermarket apple there is none of this, such a disappointing experience to eat one.

  8. Thrush and blackbird drunk on rotting fruit,
    sing in gratitude.
    I'm glad to know birds can tie one on from time to time, thanks to you.

  9. Was für ein wunderbares Gedicht! Am meisten liebe ich die Stelle mit den betrunkenen Vögeln, Ideen hast Du!! und Humor, das finde ich wundervoll! und noch viel mehr, dass der alte Baum eine Gnadenfrist bekommen hat. Ich habe vor drei Jahren meinen ersten Apfelbaum gepflanzt und in diesem Jahr trägt er zum allerersten Mal - 5(!!!) Äpfel - in Worten fünf - ich war soooo glücklich, als ich es entdeckte. Es ist eine sehr alte Sorte, die Sternrenette, ein Weihnachtsapfel ... also habe ich ein Baby und Du die Großmutter ... das finde ich sehr entzückend

    Ich wünsche Dir einen wunderbaren Sonntag und danke Dir für Deine lieben Glückwünsche zu meinem Bloggeburtstag.


  10. A deep bow in respect upon this entry of yours !

  11. How well you put words together and I'm lol as I write this, but again your words can take on personal meaning.

    I used to watch the birds and squirrels eat the rotted fruit and fall from the trees. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree but neither does a drunk squirrel.

  12. Beautiful words Friko, I could see the old fruit tree as I read your post, and the birds feeding off the fall under the tree.
    I see that you too have read Elizabeth and her German garden; I have this book and love it.

  13. h Friko

    you are a friend of old apples trees and of birds too...and you tell their story with vivid imagery.

    Happy days

  14. Beautifully said and can so apply to the aging human as well.

  15. Lovely, Friko!

    We don't have an apple tree, but we are sharing our autumn-fruiting raspberries with the birds. Plenty for everyone!

  16. What a wonderful collection of words to paint a picture full of memories for me. When we lived in the country years ago there was a huge orchard on the property. The apples would be in all stages of growth. Ready to eat, to ready, not ready, on the ground, rotten. It was a creation to marvel at.

  17. beautifully written friko. i love trees and wish for them to end their lives naturally and gracefully but it isn't always the way. the apples are just coming in nicely here and so the shops will be filled with them in their raw and processed states very soon!

  18. There's something so noble about an old fruit tree, especially one on an abandoned property - quite a common sight here. A lilac tree, a few fruit trees and the remains of a house - only the trees really giving witness to the life that there was.

  19. That which isn't fit for human consumption can be just right for other creatures. Last fall I visited with friends in Vermont. Trees bearing small gnarled apples grew everywhere - food for the deer.

    There's another aspect to your poem: proprietorship. Maybe this story will make you smile:

    There were apples trees everywhere in my neighborhood as a boy. Sometimes we would go into yards and climb the trees, pick the apples, take a bite, throw them at each other. And sometimes an old woman would charge out of the house, maybe swinging a broom and yelling at us to get out.

  20. ellen abbott - thank you.

    Martin H - we hard prune every few years to keep the fruit trees productive.

    Renee - ja, und manchmal ist ein Baum alt und krank, dann muss man ihm das Sterben erleichtern.

    Vicki Lane - yes please.

    Jinksy - every plant in my garden is my baby. It's me who looks after it.

    Kate - apple wood produces wonderful fire wood. just a small branch on the fire is enough to fill the house with fragrance.

    Tramp - what a lovely thought. The next garden apple I eat I will savour.

    Marciamayo - poetic licence, dear. but have one on me as well.

    veredit - der Name Sternrenette bringt fuer mich alte Erinnerungen. Die gab es tatsaechlich frueher zu Weihnachten.

    robert - thank you, dear robert.

  21. Manzanita - I have never seen a drunk squirrel, can he still jump safely?

    Marilynn - have you read any of her other books? They are all little treasures, particularly the semi-autobiogrphical ones.

    Delwyn - I certainly am, I am a friend of all nature.

    Arkansas Patti - Are you advocating for the ageing human to be cut down with axe and saw or to get merry on alcoholic substances? The second option, i hope.

    Christine - you are generous indeed, I'd love to share them with you!

    no doubt you had a lot of creatures joining you in enjoying them. Nature is a miracle.

    steven - Too many of the apples in the shops here come from huge industrial orchards which only grow one variety, a tasteless Golden Delicious.

    Pondside - How sad, abandoned houses and abandoned trees. Why so, Pondside?

    Mark Kerstetter - Almost a fairy tale. I was chased out of orchards many a time as a child and not only by old women.

  22. Certainly want to add my meager accolades to those
    piled up here. You are poet, photographer, and
    gardener among so many other things. Yes, this
    poems works on several levels, richly textured,
    and deeply layered with symbol and opulent
    juxtaposition. In Eastern Washington state, the
    apple capital of the US, there are many old
    abandoned orchards. My grandfather, who
    grew up there, showed me 30 varieties of
    non-commercial apples that tickled the
    palate and the imagination; even purple
    apples and striped ones; like seeing the
    fresh sprouts, the young plants growing
    bravely out of dead and blackened stumps,
    hope springs eternal. I love the emotion
    you packed into your poem, making most
    of us weep and want to rush out and
    hug a tree.

  23. Ah, this makes me think of the old women in black who I see everywhere here in Greece - moving stiffly and slowly, but still doing their productive work. Would that they were as appreciated as your old apple tree.

  24. Poor tree, with the sword of Damocles dangling above it's head.

    First thought when I saw U.S.W. was: und so weiter. Which gave me hope the tree is still standing.

    But it dawned on me that they are your initials. ;-)

  25. Mollygolver - thank you Molly

    Glenn Buttkus - Nothing more likely to affect the tear ducts than a sob story, be it about a tree, a bird, an animal, even, on occasion, a human.

    thank you for your fulsome praise, are you sure you are not taking the mickey?

    Deborah - old women have lost their bloom, who would appreciate an old crone?

    Carolina - the tree is indeed still standing, perhaps I'll let it live another year. but the wind will soon start to knock off brittle branches.


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