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21 Apr 2007

You Ate an Apple.

Written by sally @ 9:22 pm — Section: Uncategorized

One of my favorite books growing up was Camilla by Madeleine L’Engle. In it, Camilla rides the ferry with Frank, who is her best friend Luisa’s brother, and this poem comes to her mind:


We were very tired, we were very merry–
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable–
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hilltop underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry–
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry,
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry,
We hailed “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

(If you want to hear a creepy — ok, I think it’s creepy, anyway — recording of ESVM reading this poem, click here. It is at least worth knowing that she pronounced the repeating rhyme “meddy” and “feddy.” And to be honest, I didn’t get past the second line.)

2 Responses to “You Ate an Apple.”

  1. gorjus said:

    And thus you have an 18-line poem that is seventy thousand times better than its spiritual descendent, Dave Eggers’ You Shall Know Our Velocity.

  2. PrettyFakes » Blog Archive » Ephemera 04.23.07 (Books + Roll Tide). said:

    […] EYEROLLS: With You Shall Know Our Velocity!, I no longer read work by Dave Eggers unless it is in the form of the short story or, perhaps, a novella. But Gorjus, one might say, you are a total hypocrite. Aren’t you all about sincerity and the sometimes teeth-gritting anti-irony that comes from loving the world, loving your friends, and loving life? Indeed! But you still gotta have a story, baby, and if you’re going to play travel writer, you gotta do a whole lot better. For Velocity done right, go read Dame Millay’s “Recuerdo“–you get all of the feeling, without any of the preciousness or utter crap. […]