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Moonlit Apples
John Drinkwater


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.


This poem is in the public domain.




John Drinkwater (1882 – 1937) was an English poet, playwright, and actor. Working first as an insurance clerk and then as a theatre manager, John wrote actively in a variety of genres throughout his life. Besides being part of a literary group whose members included Robert Frost, John wrote a number of successful plays based on the lives of historical figures. Learn more about him at



Post New Comment:
I learned this poem from reading Muriel Spark's book "Girls of Slender Means"....It opened my eyes to new horizons. Thank you John Drinkwater and Muriel.
Posted 06/08/2020 10:25 PM
A beautifully descriptive poem.
Posted 11/14/2016 07:58 PM
I enjoyed this poem so much. Thank you.
Posted 11/14/2016 04:07 PM
Oh, this is wonderful! Absolutely love the word paintings he creates. :-)
Posted 11/14/2016 09:22 AM
A tremendous visual/last line > ...On moon-washed apples of wonder. Thanks, John & Jayne.
Posted 11/14/2016 07:56 AM
Larry Schug:
A mysterious, compelling poem worthy of many readings as something new surfaces with each reading.
Posted 11/14/2016 07:47 AM
I'm enjoying this poem. Reading it over to catch all the nuances. Katrina confused me by reference to chaffinch. Can't find it in the poem. .??
Posted 11/14/2016 05:58 AM
I like this; it is allusive. I like the 'men / Or mice' and I like the submarine quality of 'steep stair under'. The poem uses apples as a lens and I like the chaffinch's absence from the orchard bow as a dreamscape materialises.
Posted 11/14/2016 04:20 AM

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