Fragrance of apples

The fragrance of apples conjures a dream
of blossom humming with bees,
singing with the voices of chaffinches in its midst;
of young apples forming, growing, ripening
from green to shades of russet and of red.

And then the harvest:
apples to eat as they are,
to cook in pies and crumbles;
apples to quench our thirst
as juice and cider.

For some another destiny:
to fall unpicked and be both home and larder
to insects and their young;
to be the food of blackbirds and wood mice,
end-of-season wasps,
drunk on rot and fermentation.

Then the leaves turn, fall:
the tree sleeps naked
but for its lichen-covered bark,
while we make merry with all it gave us
in another year of plenty.

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