We will not pick apples again
I fear, now that the autumn is gone.
This is the last time we shall stand
In the old orchard, inhaling the
Drowsy perfume of the mouldering
Apples, fodder for the worms.

I remember the excited hubbub,
The swelling murmur, that came
At picking time. In this orchard
There was bustle, and life,
And industry, the locals, coming
And going, enjoying the feast
From the old trees that stretched
Out over acres, as far as the
Eye could see, or at least so then it seemed.

And when we returned
Ducking under fences, scrambling
Over gates, the apples still grew
But no one came to pick them
It was still, abandoned, the trees
Swelled with their fruits
But no one had come to pick them
And so the apples spilled to the
Ground, wasted, their goodness
Seeping back into the soil.

The orchard became ghostly
I could see the shades flitting
Between the derelict huts,
But I could still make out the boxes
That bore the name of our familiar
Orchard, I could glimpse the apples
Green and red and piled high
Proud and ready for selling,
But then I blinked, and they were gone.

We will not pick the apples again
Because here the past is more than
A whisper, it is a symphony of ghosts,
And here in between the trees they
Linger, whilst the orchard they cherished
Falls decaying, a travesty of ruin,
And I stand here in the stillness,
As winter approaches, I pick
One last apple, and it tastes all
The sweeter, after I turned
And left the old orchard
Alone to is everlasting slumber

Rose Staveley-Wadham