My tally of orchard apples this year is four Cox’s Orange Pippins and two Bramleys!

The harvest described by John Drinkwater (1882-1937) is much more abundant. Indeed the vision of the silent house and silent rows of fruit in the moonlight verges on the mystical. Drinkwater’s background was unusual. Although he left school at 15 he had a volume of poetry published at the age of 21, knew Robert Frost and Rupert Brooke among fellow poets, and became first manager of the Birmingham Repertory Company. His play about Abraham Lincoln was successful on both sides of the Atlantic.

                     MOONLIT APPLES

At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,

And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those

Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes

A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.


A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then

There is no sound at the top of the house of men

Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again

Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.


They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;

On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams

Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,

And quiet is the steep stair under.


In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.

And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep

Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep

On moon-washed apples of wonder.