Winter Apple (by David Whyte)

I think it was about a year ago that I saw David Whyte recite some of his poetry here in Seattle. This morning in the light of the Christmas tree and a grey drizzly morning this poem extended itself from the bookshelf asking to be read and pondered. As usual the words were just what I needed…

The Winter Apple

Let the apple ripen

In the branch

Beyond your need

To take it down.

Let the coolness

Of autumn

And the breathing,

Blowing wind

Test it’s adherence

To endurance,

Let the others fall.

Wait longer

Than you would

Go against yourself,

Find the pale

Of quiet that ripening

Demands,

Watch with patience

As the silhouette emerges

And the leaves fall,

See it become

A solitary roundness

Against a greying sky,

Let winter come

And the first frost threaten,

And then wake

One morning

To see the breath

Of winter has haloed

Its redness

With light.

So that a full

two months

after you

should have

taken the apple

Down,

You hold it in

Your closed hand

At last and bite

Into the cool

Sweetness

Spread evenly

Through every

single atom

Of a pale

and yielding

Structure,

So that you taste

On that cold,

Grey day,

Not only

The after reward

Of a patience

Remembered,

Not only

The summer

Sunlight

Of a postponed

Perfection,

But the sweet

Inward stillness

Of the wait itself.

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