Finding something to look at “for the first time”



Today’s poem is entitled Apple Blossom by Louis MacNeice.

Each fall, it amazes me how the yellow, wind-blown leaves and the smell of pumpkin lattes and the sunlight ebbing in and out of fading blue to gray skies surprises me, as if this season is foreign to me and I’m experiencing it for the first time. I personally am not a fall fan. I prefer sun dresses and summer breezes, and as fall settles, a feeling of slumber and defeat sets inside of me. Work days become longer, the night drapes over the world much too early, and a sense of “until next time” rests inside of me as if hibernating until warmer, happier days. I think about the folded up, faux-Christmas tree under my bed and the twinkle lights tangled in the plastic bin, which has no home except for a blatant, unwelcome spot in the corner of the living room, and a glimmer of hope for the holidays reminds me that happy times will come again. But this limbo of unwelcome change is always hard to grapple with and the fall season never ceases to challenge.

Ergo, the point of today’s poem is to emphasize those incredible moments that can be reborn over and over, despite having been experienced and felt before. The baking of a pie with freshly picked orchard apples, the first time it is necessary to don an extra pair of leggings and a cozy scarf around my neck, the breath of fresh air in the car when the heat is on but it’s too hot and the half cracked window allowing the perfect amount of crisp, fall air in provides a perfect balance–These moments feel like firsts again and provide a moment’s worth of happiness and comfort. So despite the blues, anxiety, or depression that fall onto poor October souls (especially we teacher folk… they say the depression dip from now until November is the worst), find pleasure in giving yourself a moment to sit at the lakefront on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy Lake Michigan as if it is your fist time that you’ve seen it.

Louis MacNeice is an Irish poet from Belfast who wrote during the 1930’s to 60’s. This poem comes from a collection of poems called The Rattle Bag (ed. S. Heaney and T. Hughes).

Apple Blossoms

By Louis MacNeice

The first blossom was the best blossom
For the child who never had seen an orchard;
For the youth whom whisky had led astray
The morning after was the first day.

The first apple was the best apple
For Adam before he heard the sentence;
When the flaming sword endorsed the Fall
The trees were his to plant for all.

The first ocean was the best ocean
For the child from streets of doubt and litter;
For the youth for whom the skies unfurled
His first love was his first world.

But the first verdict seemed the worst verdict
When Adam and Ever were expelled from Eden;
Yet when the bitter gates clanged to
The sky beyond was just as blue.

For the next ocean is the first ocean
And the last ocean is the first ocean
And, however often the sun may rise,
A new thing dawns upon our eyes.

For the last blossom is the first blossom
And the first blossom is the best blossom
And when from Eden we take our way
The morning after is the first day.

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