Friday, October 11, 2013

Poetry Friday -- Unharvested

by Robert Frost

A scent of ripeness from over a wall.
And come to leave the routine road
And look for what had made me stall,
There sure enough was an apple tree
That had eased itself of its summer load,
And of all but its trivial foliage free,
Now breathed as light as a lady's fan.
For there had been an apple fall
As complete as the apple had given man.
The ground was one circle of solid red.

May something go always unharvested!
May much stay out of our stated plan,
Apples or something forgotten and left,
So smelling their sweetness would be no theft.

Sometimes it seems like The Writer's Almanac can read my mind. The day after my frustrated PF post last week, when I was feeling like no matter how much I do, I am never doing enough and/or my best, Garrison Keillor sent this Frost poem, reminding me to breathe, to celebrate in leaving a little bit undone.

We accidentally let the one broccoli plant in the community garden that the rabbits didn't eat go unharvested. I think it's a rather beautiful late bloomer. And that cold early morning bee certainly isn't complaining about our mistake!

Laura has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Writing the World for Kids.


  1. That is what I needed to hear today, too. Thanks, Mary Lee (and the Writer's Almanac)!

  2. Anonymous8:47 AM

    It's so hard for me to imagine YOU not doing enough! Love this poem. I've missed Poetry Friday a lot...

  3. The Frost poem is such a balm for the soul -- a good reminder, as you say, to celebrate what is left undone. We all seem to get into this mindset that we *can* do it all -- an impossible goal, but it keeps us moving forward.

  4. Life and poetry work in mysterious ways. Keep up the deep breathing, Mary Lee! Om........

  5. Love this poem, and also love his "After Apple-Picking". Thanks for sharing this message!

  6. Perfect! You have saved the day.

  7. Anonymous10:17 AM

    Sending you good thoughts. Yay for Frost!

  8. wonderful Frost! with a wonderful thought! Thank you!

  9. Just went back and reread last week.
    I've had that sort of week this week, too, wondering how to break through the idea of what doing my best is --

    But, this poem, this week? Is such a gift. Thanks, Cousin. This is a reminder of why I always loved Poetry Friday, and why I shouldn't have let it be a habit I got out of...

  10. What a sweet-smelling poem, Mary Lee. And a gift to let go of the plan. Glad you to to see that bee enjoy your forgotten harvest.

  11. I can smell the over-ripe apples in Frost's poem. I am looking out of my window at a satsuma tree. They are ripening soon, and it seems like it happens suddenly. We can never keep up with the harvest. I will remind myself that others in the universe may enjoy the unharvested.

  12. I saw this earlier, and read it multiple times. Thanks for bringing it again, Mary Lee. Frost is so wonderful isn't he? Just the thing for our hurry-scurry lives!

  13. May something go always unharvested!
    May much stay out of our stated plan...

    These are words I needed to hear today - an over planned and over harvested day.

  14. It's nice to read how poetry is accessorizing your life. (Or maybe it's more than accessory!) Hope you're finding time to enjoy the fall, with its colors and smells.

    Violet N.

  15. Thank you for this, Mary Lee. I'm all about efficiency in many ways, but it's totally true for me that the sweetest moments in life often result from those unplanned or unharvested things--the poem you meant to submit for publication but didn't bother, so you share it with friends instead...the work I planned but left undone to take my younger daughter out for hot chocolate, etc. Thanks for this beautiful reminder. I think I'd like to put up a little sign in my house somewhere that just says "Unharvested" as a lovely reminder of this poem and this truth. Also--you do so much and work so hard--you're right: your best has no ceiling at all. Even if sometimes your best might be to do nothing in certain instances:>)

  16. Here in Frost country, the bees don't have much left. It's great to think that a few fallen apples can provide food for both body and soul. So happy you chose this poem to share.

  17. Anonymous3:10 PM

    Just lovely, Mary Lee. Isn't it comforting to know that all this wonderful poetry exists in the world, just waiting for us to delve into at the end of our busy days?

  18. I love Robert Frost, Mary Lee! I hadn't read this poem before--thanks so much for sharing!

  19. Thanks for the poem, Mary Lee. And the photo on the bottom, which seems to go so nicely with the poem. I'm imagining you kneeling there in the garden to get the upward facing photo. A fitting homage to the unharvested. Also, I'm struck by how beautiful those things we forget can get, if they are left to grow on their own! Maybe there's a lesson for me in there somewhere. Thanks.

  20. Sometimes the most interesting encounters happen around the edges, where planning and wildness meet. You did the bees a favor, and they'd thank you if they could. Be kind to yourself, Mary Lee. All of your fans are cheering for you!

  21. I love the Writer's Almanac, AND Frost. It is a very gentle reminder, isn't it, that nature has it's own way of taking care of itself. All wonder-ful.

  22. Oh, I love this! I've never read it before!!

    1. Excuse the double exclamation mark -- must have been hanging out too much with seventh graders. :-)


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